An FBI sting netted four Highland Park police officers on charges of bribery and drug trafficking, the feds announced Friday.
The cops included: Anthony Bynum, 29, of Highland Park; Price Montgomery, 38, of Highland Park; Shawn Williams, 33, of Detroit; and Craig Clayton, 55, of Highland Park. Williams and Clayton are both auxiliary officers.
The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office said it all began when officers Bynum and Montgomery arrested a man in August 2012 on a firearms charge and beat him. While in the hospital, the man offered the officers a bribe to drop the charges.
The man started working as an unpaid FBI informant and allegedly gave the two officers $10,000 so they wouldn't show up to trial. The exchange was recorded by the FBI, and the two cops failed to appear in Wayne County Circuit Court for trial. The charges were dropped, the FBI said.
Subsequently, last Nov. 15, the two officers agreed to transport what they thought was two kilos of cocaine from the Oakland Mall to a location in Taylor for the FBI informant. Each was paid $1,500.
The two recruited two more officers for a subsequent shipment they thought was cocaine, the FBI said. On Jan. 23, the four cops delivered what they thought was four kilos of cocaine from the Oakland Mall. The confidential informant paid each $1,000 to $1,500, the FBI said.
“We applaud Highland Park Police Chief Coney for initiating a federal investigation into misconduct by his officers," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement. "We want to emphasize that the misconduct is limited to these four officers. Our community deserves to be served and protected by police officers who perform their jobs with integrity. Police officers who take bribes and participate in criminal activities will be discovered and prosecuted.”
This was not the first time the FBI has lured cops into protecting fake drug shipments in stings. The agency has done it around the country, and in Detroit back in 1991.
In Detroit, they used an FBI undercover agent posing as a drug trafficker. Convicted drug dealer Rick "White Boy" Rick Wershe Jr. helped the feds in the case.
At that time, the feds busted 10 Detroit and suburban cops including two Highland Park officers.
A handful of civilians also were busted including Willie Volsan, Mayor Coleman A. Young's common-law brother-in-law.. Volsan helped recruit dirty cops for what turned out to be a grand sting. He was convicted.
Anthony Riggio, a retired FBI official who was an assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office in 1991, and oversaw that sting operation told Deadline Detroit on Friday:
"The FBI does not rouitinely go after cops with these kinds of schemes. Usually a communication to a bad guy... or a statement of interest to an informant or other bad guy, will start the ball rolling by law enforcement against the dishonest cop.
"Only a cop whose moral compass was never pointed true, falls prey to these kinds of deals. Unfortunately, as in 1991, the inclination to be a bad cop, can be systemic. "