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Monday, December 6, 2010

Crooked Cop Crackdown Continues

Crooked cop crackdown continues
The New York Post by Thomas Tracy - December 6, 2010

An investigation into the illegal antics of a renegade Brooklyn South narcotics team known for falsifying arrests and pocketing drugs is still bearing fruit — two years after the group’s misdeeds were uncovered. Prosecutors in both Brooklyn and Queens indicted Det. Adolph Osback, 38, with framing seven people for drug buys that never happened. Osback was part of the Brooklyn South Narcotics team put under the microscope in 2008 when it was learned that Det. Sean Johnstone and Police Officer Julio Alvarez had “cooked the books” on drug seizures. Their actions caused an internal NYPD shake up that sent the team of badge sporting cowboys to the four winds. Osback was transferred to a Queens narcotics unit as a result. Osback’s also accused of training two narcotics cops charged with bulking up their arrest numbers through an illegal practice known as “flaking.” Investigators claim Osback committed the same crime: the separate indictments allege that instead of conducting routine buy and busts, Osback would drop his “buy money” on the floor in drug-prone locations. When an unsuspecting person would scoop up the money, Osback would arrest him for completing a drug buy, even though no narcotics were exchanged. It’s believed Osback entrapped seven people in both Brooklyn and Queens this way, prosecutors said. Osback pled not guilty to the charges during his arraignment last week. He’s currently out on bail. The NYPD suspended Osback without pay in mid-November. His attorney, Damien M. Brown, said Osback would be vindicated. “He is absolutely innocent,” Brown said. Osback wasn’t the only alleged member of the notorious drug cop crew to appear before a judge last week. Johnstone and Alvarez were also in Brooklyn Supreme Court as the trial stemming from the 2008 scandal began. Both Johnstone and Alvarez are charged with falsifying business records and taking drugs seized in a Coney Island raid. According to the complaint, the duo executed a search warrant on an alleged drug dealer’s home on Sept. 13, 2008, finding over two dozen bags of cocaine. Later that day, Det. Johnstone was heard bragging that he and Alvarez had recovered 28 bags of cocaine, but only received a voucher for 17 of them. Johnstone wanted to use the rest of the cocaine to pay off informers, investigators alleged. His would-be confession was completely accidental: he didn’t know that a wire he was wearing was still recording when he told another officer what he had done. Since their arrest two years ago, Johnstone and Alvarez’s actions have led to the dismissal of 270 criminal cases handled by their narcotics team and to civil suit payouts of more $150,000 to drug suspects who claimed they were wrongly arrested. Johnstone and Alverez’s criminal trial continues this week.

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