Former ATF agent's testimony: He and officers stole drugs, money
Tulsa World http://www.tulsaworl...A1_ULNSom522759
A former ATF agent spent most of Thursday testifying in a federal corruption trial that he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers for their personal gain.
Brandon McFadden, 34, detailed for prosecutors his criminal activity, mostly involving Officer Jeff Henderson but including Officers Frank Khalil and Sean Larkin. He also said that Henderson made up information to obtain search warrants.
Henderson, 38, and Bill Yelton, 50, were indicted under seal July 19, 2010. Special prosecutors and U.S. District Judge Bruce Black of New Mexico were appointed to handle the case. The federal trial is in its fourth day.
Khalil and Larkin have not been indicted but are listed in court documents as conspirators. Khalil is listed as a prosecution witness, and Larkin is listed as a defense and prosecution witness.
On Thursday, defense attorney Stephen Jones produced reports contradicting part of McFadden's statements, including a police record showing that all the money from a 2007 drug raid was turned in at police headquarters. McFadden had testified that he and Henderson each stole about $1,500 of the money.
His cross examination will continue Friday.
McFadden was arrested in April 2010 and started working with federal investigators, he testified.
"I knew what I had done and been involved with, with the Tulsa Police Department, and knew the investigation was bigger than Brandon McFadden," he testified.
"The indictment saved my life. I could sit back and tell my story and be openly blunt about it and tell the citizens of Tulsa. I've made mistakes in Tulsa, and I take full responsibility."
McFadden has pleaded guilty to drug distribution and is awaiting sentencing. He currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, and is working on a loading dock at a warehouse. He said he will go to prison for a minimum of five years and has no promises from prosecutors on a sentence recommendation.
"It cost me everything," he said of his criminal activity. "It didn't happen overnight. I can tell you that. It was a gradual thing. One bad decision led to another, and I ended up in a situation completely over my head.
"At first, it was peer pressure in accepting the money the first time. From there, it turned into greed. And for a time, that's the thing to do because that is what all these officers were doing, and I didn't see a way out," McFadden said.
He said he had tried to tell his supervisors about corrupt police activity but was "shut down pretty quickly."
McFadden testified that he spent between 80 percent and 90 percent of his time with the Special Investigations Division of the Tulsa Police Department while he worked as an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
While working with Henderson, McFadden said he was told about informant Rochelle Martin, known as "O-girl" or "Shell." Prosecutors have said that Henderson obtained search warrants with bogus information attributed to Martin.
"I learned (Henderson) was using her to sell drugs he obtained from search warrants," he testified. "He would use her as a throw-down name for search warrants. ... I knew they were close friends and allies. It was a loyalty deal. If needed, he could get her to do what was needed."
McFadden testified that Henderson talked about using dead informants on search warrant affidavits so that if questions arose about the validity of the information, the informant could not be produced.
In a drug bust involving Juan Mata, McFadden testified that he, Henderson and Khalil found four bales of marijuana and Henderson covered up two of the bales with a blanket.
While carrying one of those hidden bales to Henderson's truck, Khalil said, "This is crazy," McFadden testified.
On cross examination, Jones produced an evidence inventory report showing that four "bricks" of marijuana were listed by officers.
Prosecutors showed jurors a photo that featured McFadden, Henderson and Khalil standing behind Mata, who was seated in front of two bales of marijuana.
When asked why the photo was taken, McFadden said, "In the law enforcement community, it's like bragging rights - it's like a trophy."
In a drug arrest involving Jerry Robert Hill III, McFadden testified that he, Khalil and Henderson stole thousands of dollars. He said he and Henderson got $4,500 each and that Khalil got about $2,000.
McFadden provided details on his claim that he, Henderson and convicted drug felon Ryan Logsdon framed Larry Wayne Barnes Sr. and his daughter, Larita Barnes, on drug charges in 2007. McFadden said the sale never took place but that the three had testified falsely in federal court against the Barneses.
McFadden said Henderson and Yelton threatened him twice when they came to think he was a snitch in an ATF investigation of Tulsa police officers.
In the summer of 2008, police officers had been told that an informant was kicking off an investigation into corruption, starting with McFadden, he testified. Henderson and Yelton asked to meet McFadden at a north Tulsa water treatment plant to warn him not to talk, he testified.
McFadden said that while Yelton sat in the front seat talking, he heard the sound of a gun being popped from its holster and racked, as if getting ready to shoot.
Although McFadden never saw the gun, he said he knew from experience what the sound was. After the gun's slide was racked, Henderson and Yelton "laughed hysterically," he testified.
McFadden was transferred to Lubbock, Texas, in late 2008. He said he asked for the transfer because of marital problems, which included an affair.
Former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden testified. Cross examination will continue Friday.
An FBI agent testified about phone records made by the officers.
A Tulsa woman testified that she saw Officer Jeff Henderson's truck parked in front of a prosecution witness's home, with the driver observing the house.
After McFadden said he was present when a Tulsa police officer assaulted a reputed drug dealer and threatened to take his child out of his custody, defense attorney Stephen Jones questioned why he stood by.
"You're a federal agent, are you not?" Jones asked.
"Yes," McFadden replied.
"The north won the Civil War, wouldn't you say?" Jones asked.
McFadden remained silent.
"Your jurisdiction is superior," Jones said.
McFadden testified for about six hours, five of which were for the prosecution. He said he:
Stole drugs and money from crime scenes with Henderson on at least three occasions;
Knew that Henderson gave drugs to drug dealers;
Illegally entered the home of a reported drug dealer with three Tulsa police officers;
Knew that Henderson falsified information on search warrant affidavits;
Was threatened by Henderson and Yelton when thought to be a "snitch."
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US: Police and ATF Agents Steal Drugs, Money
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