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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bandera: What Happened to the Evidence?

Officer wants investigation of Bandera police
By Zeke MacCormack
Sunday, June 12, 2011

BANDERA — Mishandled evidence is again drawing unwelcome scrutiny to the Bandera Police Department, where Chief James Eigner is publicly feuding with Patrolman Mario Hernandez.

Marijuana was stolen from the evidence room last year, Eigner confirmed Thursday, compromising the criminal case in which the drugs were seized and leading to a pot possession charge against the officer's son accused of taking it.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Bandera-police-again-face-scrutiny-over-1420384.php#ixzz1P4o7dMJn

This is the same police department that destroyed evidence from a DWI fatality crash that may have let a guilty defendant go free.

The biggest case of evidence disappearing was from a New York City police evidence locker was the theft by a mafia goomba, with help from inside the department, of $9 Million worth of heroin, the same heroin seized in the French Connection case. A major narcotics distributor for many years, Papa along with Virgil Alessi plotted the famous French Connection drug thefts. Between 1969 and 1972, thieves stole approximately $70,000,000 in confiscated narcotics from the New York City Police Property Clerk's office in Lower Manhattan. Over 400 pounds of heroin and cocaine disappeared back into the streets. Although some of the drugs were eventually recovered, the majority was lost forever. The French Connection theft became the biggest corruption scandal in NYPD history and one of the most spectacular crimes in city history. This theft was never solved.

Papa's crew, whose members included Loria, distributed close to $1 million in heroin along the East Coast of the United States during the early seventies. It was widely suspected that Papa sold the stolen drugs.

Papa's infamous theft was later made famous by the movie The French Connection. (from Wikipedia).

I've been reading a great novel about the drug wars, "The Power of the Dog," by Don Winslow. It's based on the rise of the Mexican cartels, and the protagonist is Art Keller, a DEA agent seeking revenge for the torture and murder of a colleague, based on Enrique Camarena, who was grabbed by police in Guadalajara and turned over to the cartels. High ranking Mexican government officials and generals were present when he was tortured for information and murdered. Another great book about the drug war and border, this one non-fiction, is Charles Bowden's Down by the River. It is also centered around a high ranking DEA agent, whose younger brother was murdered to send a message, and one of the first really big cartel bosses, Amado Fuentes, the Lord of the Skies. Bowden shows how the Mexican economy would collapse without drug money and do serious damage to the US economy.

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