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Ex-cop snared in drug, conspiracy sting loses appeal

July 8, 2015

A former Indiana police officer sentenced to 40 years in prison after he transferred guns and agreed to protect a cocaine shipment in a sting operation lost his federal court appeal.

A jury convicted John Smith of conspiring and attempting to possess more than five kilos of cocaine with intent to distribute, and transferring firearms with knowledge they would be used in drug trafficking. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond.

Smith argued on appeal that the indictment against him should have been dismissed because the government coerced him to break the law through the sting operation. “After careful study of the governing case law and of the record, we conclude that no such coercion took place. The district court, therefore, did not plainly err by failing to dismiss Mr. Smith’s indictment,” Circuit Judge Kenneth F. Ripple wrote for the panel.

Smith previously served with Indiana police agencies in Brooklyn, Knightstown and Stinesville, and the conduct for which he was convicted took place after he left those agencies.

The 7th Circuit found the record showed Smith continually expressed interest in making money protecting drug shipments and was an eager participant in criminal activity.

“Because we do not recognize outrageous government conduct as cause for dismissing an indictment, Mr. Smith’s challenge to his conviction fails,” Ripple wrote in United States of America v. John Smith,14-1119.

“In any event, the evidence reveals that Mr. Smith jumped at the opportunity to make money by providing protection for individuals involved in the illicit drug trade and that he was an active and enthusiastic participant throughout the sting operation.”

 

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