MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

DEA Agents Sold Opioids, Stole Cash, and Falsely Identified Drug Suspects, Say Feds

Seize the drugs. Sell the drugs. Arrest the buyers. Repeat.

Karl Newman mugshotKarl Newman mugshotFour former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operatives face federal corruption and conspiracy charges after allegedly engaging in all sorts of shady behavior, from selling drugs themselves to lying under oath, falsifying records, falsely identifying drug suspects, accepting bribes, and stealing cash and other property from the people they arrested. In at least one instance, their behavior led to someone being wrongly imprisoned for more than two years.

The dirty drug warriors—special agent Chad Scott, with the DEA since 1997, and former task force officers Rodney Gemar, Karl Newman, and Johnny Domingue—worked with the DEA's New Orelans Division. Gemar and Newman also work for local law enforcement agencies.

In an indictment unsealed this week, Scott, Newman, and Gemar—a Hammond Police Department officer since 2004 and DEA Task Force Officer since 2009—are accused of seizing money and other property from those they arrested and then keeping it for themselves. (Notably, the feds do not frame this as theft from the suspects but as embezzling funds from the DEA.) This went on for at least seven years.

Scott is also accused of accepting $10,000 from a defendent in a federal criminal case in exchange for recommending that prosecutors seek a reduced sentence and, in another case, tampering with witness testimony.

Scott allegedly coerced Frederick Brown (a defendent in his own drug case) "to falsely testify that Jorge Perralta was present during drug transactions between Edwin Martinez and [Brown], when in fact Frederick Brown had never seen Jorge Perralta during his drug transactions with Edwin Martinez." Scott reportedly offered his own false testimony in the case as well.

The DEA agent claimed that it was Brown who initially brought up Perralta when talking about people who were around during deals and might be Martinez's supplier, referring to Perralta not by name but as "the little Mexican guy." Scott said that he showed Brown a photograph of Perralta on his phone, and that Brown confirmed this was the dude he had seen during drug deals.

An arrest warrant was issued, and Scott went to Houston to help police there arrest Perralta for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. Perralta's phone was seized, he was taken into custody, and—without even being allowed to contact his parents or girlfriend—he was whisked away to Louisiana. That was in March 2015.

After nearly two and a half years behnd bars, Perralta was released in August 2017 and all charges against him were dismissed.

Brown had never brought up Perralta on his own, say prosecutors in their indictment against Scott. And when shown a picture of Perralta, Brown said that he had never seen him.

Both Scott and Gemar were arrested on October 1 and released on bond the next day.

Newman and Domingue were arrested in 2016. According to federal prosecutors, Newman seized and sold thousands of dollars worth of cocaine and oxycodone. Some of these drugs he seized from a woman identified as R.G. "by means of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of injury...to R.G.'s person and the persons of her family."

Domingue is accused only of falsifying records related to this illegal drug seizure. His trial is set February 2018.

Newman has agreed to plead guilty to one count of "conspiracy to convert property" and one count of using a gun in furtherance of a crime of violence, in exchange for prosecutors dropping the other charges against him. He faces fines of up to $500,000 and possible life in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years.

Photo Credit: Thomas Frey/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As always, had the agents simply beaten or shot Perralta, there would be no problem. Same if they had "innocently" put him behind bars through shoddy police work. But they defected to the other side of the drug war and tried to make a profit, suddenly too good to live the simple civil servant's lifestyle off just copious overtime tax dollars. That's something the feds just won't brook.

  • Memory Hole||

    This exactly

  • sarcasmic||

    (Notably, the feds do not frame this as theft from the suspects but as embezzling funds from the DEA.)

    This is the only reason they are in any trouble. Everything else was just normal police work.

  • Radioactive||

    probably described in his personal performance evaluations as a model agent...just sayin

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    Both Scott and Gemar were arrested on October 1 and released on bond the next day.

    According to this article:

    Of course.

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

    I am so bad at formatting

    According to this article:

    A federal magistrate on Tuesday set $300,000 bail for Chad Scott, a veteran narcotics officer accused of stealing cash from drug dealers, lying under oath and falsifying paperwork during his lengthy career with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    U.S. Magistrate Janis van Meerveld rejected the government's warning that Scott might flee the country before standing trial on a host of corruption charges.
  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

  • sarcasmic||

  • Crusty Juggler - Lawbertarian||

  • sarcasmic||

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Link not work? I don't get the no reply, replies.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    are accused of seizing money and other property from those they arrested and then keeping it for themselves. (Notably, the feds do not frame this as theft from the suspects but as embezzling funds from the DEA.)

    Fools, as cops they should know that it is illegal for money to exchange hands without Uncle Sam getting his cut.

  • Eman||

    Hey, its the price we pay for civizilation.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Both Scott and Gemar were arrested on October 1 and released on bond the next day.

    Rules for them; rules for us.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Makes sense. It is Us vs Them.

  • b4integrity||

    Again, the DEA is a tyrannical domestic terrorist continuing criminal enterprise with no positive purpose and effect.

    The CSA is unconstitutional, violating the Equal Protection Clause and Amendment XIII's proscription of slavery.

    DEA agents and officials are criminals with badges.

  • CE||

    Legalize all of them. End the crime. (Budweiser and Coors don't engage in shootouts with each other, or with the government.) Make the drugs safer -- get a bad product, you can sue the manufacturer. Make it easier to seek medical help for addiction -- no fear of getting arrested. Reduce government employment and save taxpayer money.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Now apply that same "sue the manufacturer" logic to government itself. Other than enforcing its artificial monopoly, almost nothing government does requires a monopoly. Imagine if you could choose which police to hire for the crimes against you, which courts, which welfare organization to insure with, which consumer watchdog group to prevent you from buying what kinds of food.

    And when they fuck up, you hire other police to arrest them, you hire your own prosecutor.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: DEA Agents Sold Opioids, Stole Cash, and Falsely Identified Drug Suspects, Say Feds
    Seize the drugs. Sell the drugs. Arrest the buyers. Repeat.

    Which ones are the bad guys again?
    I get confused.

  • Tionico||

    the ones getting paychecks from government, that is, US.

  • m.EK||

    Did they commit Treason in a time of war? The penalties for this can be rather extreme.

  • hackajar||

    Maybe peace officers should be prohibited from being offered plea deals, when they use their position to commit crimes. It seems off that they get lean sentences to help unclog the courts that they clogged in the first place with false criminal charges all the time.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Where's a public sector union flack when you need one?

  • Eman||

    I was in the middle of some unkind comments about the officers involved here, but the thought of preeet swinging his dick at me had a chilling effect.

  • Jer Citti||

    First time I was ever in favor of mandatory minimum sentences.

  • Hank Phillips||

    "Bailiff, whack his pee-pee!"

  • MichaelL||

    My wife got in trouble for forging a prescription way back when. The drug task force guys could think of nothing but getting her to confess that my PA niece or I had written them for her. She did not liefor them! She had written them. All she had to do is get it off of the Internet! Sadly, she learned form a person that she was with in jail overnight, that one of the guys had, allegedly, bought pain pills for his mother off the street!...(;-P...It is such a big problem that these guys want to bust doctors and nurses before they do the people doing the illegal things. I never figured out whether or not it was jealousy. But, how could it be? They were never smart enough to have gotten through college!

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Hang 'em!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Typo alert at "New Orleans." But yes, the mystical murderers sent out to enforce Sharia law on Americans the night of December 16th, 1920, did exactly the same sorts of things. A factor prompting repeal was citizens returning fire. The um... attrition rate for jackbooted looters increased rapidly once Herbert Hoover and Mabel Willebrandt escalated the Prohibition Amendment into an economy-destroying War On Individual Rights. As the net closed on politicians and their millionaire corporate backers, things changed quickly.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Typo alert at "New Orleans." But yes, the mystical murderers sent out to enforce Sharia law on Americans the night of December 16th, 1920, did exactly the same sorts of things. A factor prompting repeal was citizens returning fire. The um... attrition rate for jackbooted looters increased rapidly once Herbert Hoover and Mabel Willebrandt escalated the Prohibition Amendment into an economy-destroying War On Individual Rights. As the net closed on politicians and their millionaire corporate backers, things changed quickly.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online