Sunday, February 25, 2007

Four Florida police face life in prison

Four police officers from Hollywood, FL, face life prison sentences as the result of a federal sting operation, according to a story by Brian Haas and Vanessa Blum of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Federal authorities revealed the details of "Operation Tarnished Badge" on Friday. They say the four officers protected and transported diamonds, artwork, bonds and heroin for what they believed was a New York-based crime family. The crime family was actually an undercover operation by federal agents.

Detective Kevin Companion, 41, is charged with being the ringleader of the group. After meeting with the undercover agents in December 2004, he allegedly recruited Sgt. Jeffry Courtney, 51, Officer Stephen Harrison, 46, and Detective Thomas Simcox, 50, to aid him in a criminal enterprise. All the officers have been charged with extortion through the misuse of their public positions and conspiracy and attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Simcox remained at large of Friday (he is expected to turn himself in to authorities tomorrow), as the other three officers were brought before U.S. Magistrate Lurana Snow. The magistrate set bond for Companion at $350,000, for Courtney at $375,000, and for Harrison at $300,000.

Three of the four officers were previously investigated by the police department, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.