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FBI Investigates Indianapolis Police For Drug Theft


January 1998

On December 18, the FBI announced a probe into allegations that Indianapolis police officers have been stealing from drug dealers (Associated Press, "Indianapolis Police Probed For Drug Theft," Washington Post, December 19, 1997, p. A32; Associated Press, "FBI investigates police drug crimes," Washington Times, December 19, 1997, p. A14; Associated Press, "FBI investigating Indianapolis police," St. Petersburg Times, December 19, 1997).

Patrolman Myron A. Powell, 35, is charged with shooting a man during an attempt to rob the man of drugs in December. Powell is a 7-year veteran of the Police Department. A convicted drug dealer, Michael A. Highbaugh, 33, told police he and Powell had been stealing cash and drugs from other dealers for four years. Highbaugh is also charged in the shooting and attempted robbery.

Powell's arrest prompted numerous tips about police crimes from the public and other police officers. Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Zunk said he asked the FBI to investigate the allegations to prevent suspicion that his department might try to hide misconduct. Zunk said he had no further evidence of police involvement in drug-related murders, and that the investigation into other leads has not uncovered widespread corruption.

Zunk recently replaced the former police chief, who resigned after four officers were indicted for drunkenly accosting passersby on a downtown street with racial and sexual insults. The four officers physically assaulted two pedestrians. A jury failed to reach a verdict on that case in October 1997.