A former police officer, who was voted “Cop of the Year” on two separate occasions, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, for his role in a federal drug sting operation. Phillip LeRoy (28), of Queens, New York, pleaded guilty earlier this year to his part in a drug conspiracy that involved drugs with a street value of $200,000. The sting took place at a warehouse located in Sunrise, Florida. LeRoy, and an accomplice, arrived to pick up 22 pounds of cocaine, at a predetermined time, and were captured on video. LeRoy has apparently accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with authorities.
COMMENT: Sunrise Police, and other agencies, have been operating clandestine sting operations in the area over the past few years by luring suspected drug traffickers to Sunrise with unusual offers to make a lot of money. The Sun Sentinel Times reports that potential drug purveyors are sometimes enticed with offers of drugs (to sell) on a consignment basis, provided vehicles with hidden compartments, and other incentives normally not provided in standard drug transactions. Police use forfeiture statutes to seize and keep money and property the unwitting individuals might bring to the table. The Sun-Sentinel reports that the police have taken in millions of dollars in the process. What is especially unusual about the Sunrise sting operation is that many of the defendants, who are looking for the opportunity to make quick money, are not from the Sunrise vicinity. Most law enforcement agencies who engage in sting operations, are focused on the safety of their local communities, and do not engage in the practice of enticing people from other localities into their areas, thereby opening the possibility of danger to local citizens, no matter how controlled the sting is. It also seems that such practices invite entrapment defenses, and add unnecessary expense to the community. In many states, forfeiture statutes direct how seized assets are to be distributed, however, law enforcement usually end up with a healthy share of the loot. The strong possibility that the police stand to benefit from such practices, coupled with the potential danger to the community, calls the incentive for the operations into serious question. We think the Sunrise Police should focus on the citizens of Sunrise, and not invite potentially dangerous folk into town, no matter how much money might be made.