By Lisa Rosetta
The Salt Lake Tribune
Copyright 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune
All Rights Reserved
A former West Valley City detective likely will face probation and a $500 fine in exchange for pleading guilty Wednesday to importing small amounts of anabolic steroids from Slovenia.
A private investigator alerted authorities to Steven C. Ward's drug use after he rummaged through Ward's trash can in September 2005 and found drug paraphernalia and paperwork, according to court documents.
One receipt showed Ward, 27, was sending money to the Central European country via Western Union for the steroids, assistant U.S. attorney Robert Lund said in federal court Wednesday.
The private investigator - hired by the family of 59-year-old Bounmy Ousa, whom Ward killed last year during a surveillance - contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office, which arranged a meeting with the FBI. The DEA later took over the case and, as part of an undercover operation, was able to buy steroids from Ward's source in Slovenia.
E-mails from Ward to his Slovenian source also were discovered on Ward's police department-issued computer, Lund said.
In August, Ward was charged with one felony count of importing a controlled substance - punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine - to which he originally pleaded not guilty. Ward's trial was slated to begin Wednesday, but he struck a plea deal with the government earlier this month.
The investigation into Ward's steroid use began only days after Salt Lake County District Attorney David Yocom cleared the detective in the fatal shooting of Ousa.
Ward shot Ousa several times at close range on July 7, 2005, as the officer sat in an unmarked police car parked near 3300 West and Brookway Drive. Ward and his partner were conducting surveillance on a neighboring home, which was scheduled for a narcotics search warrant later in the evening.
Ousa approached the vehicle and spoke with the officers, who identified themselves as police and asked him to return to his home. Ousa stepped away from the car and removed a "shiny, black, metallic object" from his waistband, according to police. Ward said he thought it was a gun and fired four times at Ousa.
The object turned out to be a flashlight, according to the investigation. Ousa died a short time later.
Ousa's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ward, claiming, among other things, that he was under the influence of steroids when he fired the shots.
Ward was on paid administrative leave until June 30, when he resigned his position at the police department.
West Valley City later settled with the Ousa family for $450,000.
Former Utah detective likely faces probation for steroids plea