|Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|St. Louis Police Sgt. Larry J. Davis is released from the federal courthouse on Thursday after being indicted on federal drug charges on Wednesday|
A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant and his brother have been indicted on federal marijuana charges after investigators said they diverted confiscated packages containing cannabis for distribution and sale.
Larry J. Davis, 46, is assigned as a supervisory sergeant for a division of the St. Louis Police Department that conducts investigations into illegal gang activities and illegal drug distribution, according to the indictment, reports KMOV.
The indictment alleges that from October 1, 2010 through January 10, 2012, Larry Davis seized packages containing suspected marijuana, and instead of taking them to the police department, unbeknownst to the package handling companies, investigators say Davis took the packages home with him to St. Louis City.
It was a pretty good scam — for awhile. You see, several years ago, St. Louis police stopped regularly checking packages for drugs at delivery services like UPS and FedEx, reports Robert Patrick at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But Larry Davis didn’t say anything; he just kept making the rounds and collecting the packages.
According to U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, Sgt. Davis “would visit some of the private package companies, they assumed he was acting in his official capacity and he would seize certain packages that looked suspicious. Some of the packages made their way to the police department lab, but the greater number did not.”
|Fox 2 Now|
It was not immediately clear how Sgt. Davis was alerted to the presence of the packages in the first place. Investigators sometimes use drug-detecting dogs or look at a parcel’s appearance, origin or destination.
The indictment also names Davis’s brother, Linus Davis, 42, as an accomplice. Federal investigators claim the brothers would open the confiscated packages, remove the concealed marijuana and sell it for personal gain. In order to conceal his conduct, Larry Davis failed to submit police reports regarding the seizures, according to the indictment.
The brothers were on Wednesday each indicted by a federal grand jury on one felony count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and one count of intent to distribute marijuana.
|Offices of the U.S. Attorneys|
|U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan: “Some of the packages made their way to the police department lab, but the greater number did not”|
Larry Davis was arrested Thursday morning at his home; his brother Linus was expected to surrender to authorities later on Thursday.
“Cop Ganks Dank, Feds Spank,” read the memorable headline in alternative weekly Riverfront Times, owned by Village Voice Media, which also owns Toke of the Town.
“Here’s why your package from Humboldt didn’t arrive in time for Christmas,” wrote Paul Friswold of RFT. “Sergeant Larry J. Davis of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department enjoys his job so much that he allegedly took work home with him on a regular basis.”
“Without going into operational details, we are very appreciative of the cooperative we received from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” crowed Thomas R. Metz, acting special agent in charge of the FBI St. Louis division.
“Upon being notified by the FBI of allegations against Larry Davis, the Metropolitan Police Department immediately suspended Davis from the police force on January 11, 2012,” the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said in a prepared statement regarding the case, reports Fox 2 Now.
“The Metropolitan Police Department fully cooperated with this investigation and is committed to ensuring the men and women of our Department are held to the highest standards,” the statement claimed. “The Department will continue to be vigorous in our efforts to root out any and all persons whose actions may compromise the integrity of the organization.”
|Attorney Neil Bruntrager: “We are concerned that people are rushing to judgment”|
The Davis brothers could get a maximum penalty of five years on each count of the indictment if convicted. The actual sentence would be determined by a judge.
The case was investigated by the FBI Public Corruption Task Force which includes members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Sgt. Davis’s lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, said his client will plead not guilty on Monday at his arraignment. “All the evidence has not been reviewed,” Bruntrager said. “We are concerned that people are rushing to judgment.”
But it seems this isn’t the first time Sgt. Davis has been accused of abusing his authority.
According to public court documents, a man named Robert Beene filed a lawsuit in April 2009 against Larry Davis for incidents that occurred in October 2008. Beene, the plaintiff, said he was walking home from a convenience store when he was approached by Davis.
According to the documents, Davis told Beene he “needed to talk to him,” placed him in handcuffs and pushed him into an SUV. Once inside, he was questioned by Davis and another man about “drug activity” at a particular neighborhood building. Beene denied any knowledge of the activity.
Beene said he was then driven to the edge of a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in the city of St. Louis. Once at the bluff, Beene said that Davis punched him in the face and kneed him in the groin. Beene said Davis held him up while the other man worked him over.
After the beating, the plaintiff said Davis held a pistol to his head and asked “if he wanted a closed casket.” Both men threatened to throw him off the bluff, Beene said. Davis then holstered his pistol and told Beene he should “just cooperate” next time, according to court documents.
The plaintiff said that Davis and the other man left him lying on the ground and drove off in the SUV. Beene reportedly got a fractured rib, a chest wall strain, bruises and other injuries.
The case never went to trial; after arbitration, the City of St. Louis made a $20,000 cash settlement with the victim. Incredibly, these morons allowed would-be tough-guy cop Larry Davis to keep his job.
Both of the Davis brothers were released on $25,000 unsecured bail after makin
g a court appearance on Thursday.
g a court appearance on Thursday.
For local TV station KSDK’s coverage of the arrests, see the video below.