In February, 1998, a federal grand jury indicted 53 Cleveland area people as a result of an FBI sting operation where federal agents posed as drug kingpins and hired police, county jail guards, a deputy sheriff, and several "law enforcement imposters" to protect large drug shipments.
The sting operation began in October 1996 when an FBI undercover agent allegedly bought crack cocaine from Michael W. Joye, 29, a Cuyahoga County jail guard. The undercover FBI agent then used Joye to recruit 43 other law enforcement types to act as "security guards" to protect shipments of marijuana and what turned out to be phony cocaine. Nine others indicted either posed as police officers or were brought in as partners of the indicted cops.
All but two of the 53 were arrested in January 1998. The indictments were handed down later, after a grand jury reviewed video and audio tapes of meetings where FBI agents and unwitting law enforcement types negotiated the terms of the cops' illegal moonlighting security jobs.
All 53 were indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Those charged include: 25 Cuyahoga County jail guards, 8 Cleveland police officers, 6 East Cleveland police officers, 3 Cleveland Heights police officers, 2 Brooklyn (a Cleveland suburb) police officers, a Cuyahoga County sheriff's deputy, and 6 other "law enforcement imposters" who were pulled into the sting by the lure of easy money.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
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