Former Detroit Police Officer Arraigned on Additional Charges in Drug Scheme
DETROIT (AP) - A former Detroit Police officer was arraigned Thursday on additional charges in a scheme to steal cocaine from a Detroit Police property room and sell it on the street.
Donald Hynes pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; distribution of five or more kilograms of cocaine; conspiracy to steal, embezzle and convert police property; and embezzling and converting police property.
The four charges included in a third superseding indictment are in addition to original charges of conspiracy to launder money and making false declarations before a grand jury, said Stephen Moore, a special agent and spokesman for the IRS.
A charge of obstruction of justice was dropped.
Lawrence Bunting, an attorney for Hynes, said he had known the superseding indictment was coming for several months and that his client will be proven not guilty at trial.
Hynes originally was indicted in October 2002 along with eight other people.
According to the indictment, John Earl Cole Sr., a civilian police department employee who worked in a police property room, took at least 176 pounds of cocaine seized by police during a number of crimes, and replaced them with unopened bags of flour between 1994 and 2000.
Hynes, a retired Detroit officer, used the department's computer system to find out which packages of cocaine no longer were needed as evidence in cases and pointed them out to Cole so he could take them. Hynes then created computer entries falsely showing that the packages had been destroyed, according to the indictment.
Cole sold the drugs for at least $840,000, and he, Hynes and one of the other indicted men used the money to purchase 19 pieces of residential and commercial property and two Chevrolet Corvettes, the indictment says.
Six additional Detroit residents, some of whom are listed on the titles of the 19 pieces of property, also were indicted on charges including conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements before a grand jury.
Cole pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering.
Under a plea agreement, he faces no more than 30 years in prison and will be liable to repay $1.3 million, the amount the government says he received for the drugs. He faced up to life in prison as originally charged.
Of the remaining seven people indicted in the case, four have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and two have pleaded guilty, but have yet to be sentenced. Charges against another man were dismissed, Moore said.