Detroit Police Officer indicted in drug conspiracy
DETROIT - A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Detroit Police Officer Christopher Staton, 51, of Detroit, with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of making a false statement to a special agent of the FBI, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Timothy Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and Chief James Craig, Detroit Police Department.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2012, and continuing through 2017, Officer Staton conspired with ten other members of a drug trafficking organization to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. The indictment further alleges Staton agreed to help by providing members of the conspiracy with sensitive law enforcement information, including information about a co-conspirator’s arrest and about vehicles’ registrations. Staton was also charged with lying to FBI agents about his disclosure of this information.
"Detroit Police officers are outstanding public servants, and the corrupt actions of just this one defendant should not undermine the public’s overall trust in law enforcement," said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. "Given the magnitude of the opioid crisis, the allegations are especially troubling that this defendant was actively helping drug dealers evade police detection and distribute large quantities of poisonous drugs."
"The Detroit Police Department is a long standing partner in our efforts to protect the community from drug traffickers and its related violence," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Plancon. "The indictment of this single officer in no way diminishes the hard work provided by so many Detroit Police Officers on a daily basis. This indicted officer willingly contributed to the destruction that drug trafficking brings to our neighborhoods. Make no mistake, when any officer crosses the line and becomes a drug trafficker or co-conspirator, the DEA and our law enforcement partners will be relentless in bringing them to justice."
"When an officer of the law violates the community’s trust and breaks his or her oath to protect and serve, the FBI will ensure they answer for their crimes," said Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater, Detroit Division of the FBI. "Today’s indictment reflects an individual officer’s betrayal of his oath and his fellow officers. It should not take away from the outstanding work conducted every day by the men and women of the Detroit Police Department."
"We are disappointed in the actions of Officer Christopher Staton, as they have left a stain on our department," said Chief of Police James Craig. "However, the actions of this officer does not reflect the values of our department and the men and women who serve honorably in keeping our communities safe. Our focus has been and will continue to be building trust and combating the existence of illegal activity within our communities."
Staton faces up to life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000 for the drug conspiracy count, and up to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for the false statement count. The investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Cares and Mitra Jafary-Hariri.