Fake-drug case takes new turn
More suspects released; another officer was involved
11:24 PM CDT on Thursday, September 9, 2004
By BRETT SHIPP / WFAA-TV
The fake-drugs investigation has taken a dramatic new turn, with word that drugs confiscated in a raid last May are also fake.
Charges against the two suspects in those cases were dropped Thursday. But the story doesn't end there. News 8 has learned that police and the District Attorney were told four and a half months ago that the drugs were bad, yet only Thursday was something done about it.
Frankie Wester rejoiced once she had heard the news that her daughter Joy Everett and daughter's boyfriend Patrick Grogan are having their drug cases dismissed.
"Oh, thank you Jesus ... God Bless America," Wester said.
The pair were arrested at their home on May 25 by a Dallas Police Department undercover officer working with a confidential informant. This case involved a different officer and informant than the ones called into question in the cases involving Hispanic laborers and mechanics.
Police say they found a large bag of speed underneath a living room sofa, and another in a bedroom drawer, and a smaller one lying out on a night stand. 479 grams in all, and by all accounts a nice-sized bust.
The main officer involved reported that the speed seized tested positive in the field. But from the beginning, Everett's mother says her daughter maintained her innocence.
"She knew who set her up," Wester said. "She knew when she was set up."
Wester also said her daughter thinks it was an officer that set her up.
Everett's son Jonathan, who was home during the raid, says they personally knew the informant who had come over to the house to borrow flour.
"She got it, she left, (and) ten minutes later they came," he said.
Months later, the lab test results showed that bag number one, bag number two and bag number three all did not contain a controlled substance.
The date stamped on the results was September 14. But no one - not police, nor the District Attorney - told the suspects, who were out on bond, that the drugs were fake. The results were never made public until attorney Cynthia Barbare asked to see them.
"The case wasn't dismissed until today, until I went down there and asked for the lab (results)," Barbare said.
Barbare, who is credited for being one of the first to raise questions about the rash of fake drug cases, says she sees a disturbing pattern that is not being responded to by Dallas Police Chief Terrell Bolton.
"This case involves one of these officers that I believe needs to be out there on suspended leave, just like the main two officers who are on suspended leave," Barbare said.
News 8 has previously reported on eight officers who have played a key role in many, if not most, of the fake drug cases. Add to that the officer in this new case, who has played a major role in the arrests of three defendants in fake drug cases.
District Attorney Bill Hill had no comment as to why the test results were kept secret for so long. He did acknowledge, however, that questions now surround more officers.
"I do think as a result of this revelation, we will expand our review and investigation," Hill said.
Frankie Wester says she's counting on that investigation to put someone really guilty behind bars.
"What should happen to him? I think he should be punished, because it's not just my daughter and her families life and our lives," Wester said. "It's a lot of other people that have been involved in this."
The District Attorney has also dismissed charges against a third defendant, after lab results released Thursday uncovered yet another case involving fake drugs.
In all, 21 former suspects have had their cases dismissed because of fake drugs. The District Attorney says more dismissals are in the works. A Dallas Police Department spokesman had no comment.
In related news, the main informant involved in the fake drug investigation is in custody. The 44-year-old man allegedly supplied information that police used to make dozens of drug arrests.
Most of the drugs he led them to, however, turned out to be fake. He was paid $200,000 for the information he supplied to police.
INS detained him because of his illegal immigrant status. He is being held in the Denton County Jail.