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02/12/2002

Officer arrested as alleged cocaine courier


NEW YORK (AP) _ A New York City police officer who was an alleged courier for drug dealers has been arrested on narcotics possession charges.

Derwin Blanks, 31, was arrested at about 6 p.m. Monday by members of the Internal Affairs Bureau after he delivered more than a pound of cocaine to Washington Heights, the Manhattan district attorney's office said.

Blanks, who had put the cocaine in a bag in the trunk of his car, parked in front of 736 W. 173rd St., the district attorney's office said. They said he was arrested as he walked away from the vehicle.

At his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on a charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, Blanks pleaded innocent. Judge Arlene Silverman set bail at $15,000 and scheduled a hearing for Feb. 22.

Stuart London, an attorney for Blanks, refused to comment on the case Tuesday.

Blanks, a police officer for 8 1/2 years, was assigned to Upper Manhattan's Transit District 3. After his arrest, he was suspended without pay.

Because he allegedly had more than four ounces of cocaine when arrested, Blanks faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

Blanks' arrest was the result of a long-term investigation into allegations that he was carrying drugs for dealers.


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