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New York Commission Targets Corrupt DEA Task Force


June 1993

The Mollen Commission, created last year by the city of New York to probe police corruption, is focusing on the scandal-ridden state Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF), a 250-person unit composed of federal, state, and city officers under the direction of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (Scott Laid, "Drug Cops Targeted: Corruption Probe Widens," New York Newsday, 5/24/93, p. 21).

The ongoing investigation has already implicated at least eight current and former DETF officers, according to Newsday. Details of alleged misconduct have been provided to federal prosecutors by two of those arrested, state police Trooper Robert Robles and city police Sgt. Joseph Termini. They were arrested in March with task force Det. Jeffrey Beck on heroin distribution charges.

Mollen Commission investigations are focusing on charges that hundreds of thousands of dollars, drugs, and jewelry seized in DEA raids were never properly accounted for and may have been stolen by narcotics officers. Defense attorneys involved in defending drug dealers have charged that federal prosecutors have failed to aggressively pursue corruption charges against drug task force officers for fear it would compromise pending cases. One major case, the "Blue Thunder" heroin case, has already been thrown out as a consequence of misconduct charges.