Compromised DEA Investigation Leads to Sentencing of Former Police Officer
JUN 6 -- (Indianapolis) – A former Indianapolis Metro Police Officer was sentenced on June 5, 2008 by United States District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker on charges of unlawfully disclosing the contents of federally authorized wiretap information, with the intent to obstruct or impede a criminal investigation. Nobel Duke, 39 of Indianapolis was sentenced to four months community confinement in a community corrections center, followed by six months home detention and 180 hours of community service. Duke’s sentencing follows his guilty plea before the court on April 4, 2008.
Duke was employed as a sworn police officer with IMPD from February 2001 until approximately March 17, 2008 the date the charge was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. In April 2005, Duke was assigned to the ATF Achilles Task Force, where he worked until he was relieved of his task force duties in August 2007. Some of the investigations conducted by the Achilles Task Force included wire tap investigations, which were worked along side the DEA and FBI. As part of these investigations, federal agents and law enforcement officers conducted court authorized interceptions of wire communications used by numerous individuals who were part of several interrelated cocaine distribution groups.
Between May 18, 2007 and June 16, 2007, on two to three occasions, Duke was asked by an individual to find out information about a federal investigation. Duke obtained several pieces of information and illegally disclosed the information to this individual. The information included what individuals were under investigation, that their wire communications were being intercepted, that an indictment was pending and that police officers and federal agents would be coming to arrest people on a certain date. Duke further told the individual that he could lose his job for giving out this information.
One of the investigations compromised by Duke was conducted by the Indianapolis DEA. On June 19, 2007, a federal grand jury in Indianapolis returned nine sealed indictments, charging a total of 36 individual with drug trafficking crimes. On June 21, 2007 over 150 law enforcement officers participate in the attempted arrest of these defendants as well as the execution of 19 federal search warrants. Of the 36 defendants charged, 18 were arrested, three subsequently surrendered, and 15 were fugitives on June 19. The fact that 15 of the defendants were not arrested and became fugitives at that time was due at least in part to the knowledge that law enforcement officers were coming to arrest them, the information that was illegally disclosed by Duke.
“It’s unfortunate to know that the breach of trust came from another law enforcement officer,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division. “The information leaked could have resulted in deadly consequences for drug law enforcement officers on June 21, 2007. We are thankful to the federal, state and local police agencies that assisted in the arrests that day for conducting a safe operation.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John Dowd, who said that Judge Barker also ordered Duke to serve three years on probation and ordered him to pay a fine in the amount of $1,000.00