Cop Admits to Planting Drugs, Shaking Down Dealers Routinely

A bunch of cops in Philadelphia were arrested by the FBI for allegedly planting drugs on suspects and stealing cash and drugs from dealers for more than two decades. One of the officers is the star witness, testifying that this was standard operating procedure in the department.

A disgraced ex-police officer testifying against his drug squad colleagues acknowledged Tuesday that he stole drug money, planted evidence and lied on police paperwork too many times to count.

Jeffrey Walker told jurors that the Philadelphia Police Department drug squad targeted white “college-boy … khaki-pants types” who were “easy to intimidate.”

That matches the description of some of the drug dealers who have testified at the six-week police corruption trial that the squad stole as much as $110,000 at a time during violent, no-warrant raids.

Lead defendant Thomas Liciardello always got a cut of the stolen money, while the others split “jobs” that they worked, Walker said. The city’s police brass often celebrated the squad’s work with splashy news conferences to announce large seizures.

“They liked that, as far as the bosses and supervisors were concerned. It made them look good. It was nothing but a dog and pony show,” Walker testified.

More than 160 drug convictions have been overturned since Walker pleaded guilty and the others were named in a 26-count indictment. Scores of civil-rights lawsuits are pending over the arrests. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has voiced his disgust with the squad’s alleged crimes while continuing his effort to clean out and reform the 7,000-member department…

Walker agreed to cooperate after the FBI caught him stealing $15,000 from a suspect and planting drugs in his car. He has been in custody ever since and hopes to avoid a life sentence through his testimony.

Liciardello, he said, warned squad members not to change their spending habits so dramatically that they attracted attention. The other ex-squad members on trial are Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts and John Speiser.

Walker said he once worked closely with Liciardello and Reynolds but was ostracized as he went through a divorce, weight loss surgery and other personal problems. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen late Tuesday introduced a series of threatening texts Liciardello sent Walker once he suspected Walker was talking to Internal Affairs.

“Your now a rat I hope you die,” Liciardello wrote. “I will have you locked up by midnight. Goodbye loner.”

And this is why good cops rarely inform on the bad ones, and thus why this kind of thing is so rampant.

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  • StevoR

    How many others don’t admit to it but also do that?

    Plus worse.

    That’s the really big and hard to definitively answer. Especially after Walter Scott’s murder captured on camera.

  • busterggi

    Wow, corrupt cops – who’d have imagined it.

  • D. C. Sessions

    And this is why good cops rarely inform on the bad ones, and thus why this kind of thing is so rampant.

    Hey, he’s still breathing isn’t he?

  • Marcus Ranum

    We’ve got the best police money can buy!!!!

  • grumpyoldfart

    I remember a case in Adelaide, South Australia, where a drug dealer accused police of stealing $30,000 during a drug raid. The judge asked if the dealer was employed. The dealer said he didn’t have a regular job. The judge concluded that the police could not have stolen $30,000 because it was not possible for an unemployed drug dealer to have that much cash lying about the house. Case dismissed. (I assume the judge got his cut later.)

  • WMDKitty — Survivor

    So. Not. Surprised. I generally expect cops to be dishonest.

  • StevoR

    @ ^ WMDKitty — Survivor : I don’t. I expect police to be honest but then I live in different nation and experience life from a very different, admittedly privileged, position so, yeah. But still.

    As a matter of principle and ideally everyone should feel that same way I do that the police are there to help and protect and serve everyone and are trustworthy but clearly there are a lot of places and times and areas where that simply isn’t the case and the law enforcement agencies need to change that for the better. /stating the obvious?

  • dingojack

    Marcus Ranum (#4) – I never you lived in either NSW, Qld or Vic.

    😉 Dingo


    Stevo – “The Moonlight State”. Four Corners. ABC. 11 May, 1987.

  • dingojack

    Stevo – For video try here.


  • D. C. Sessions

    We’ve got the best police money can buy!!!!

    How many of them stay bought?

  • StevoR

    @ 9. Dingojack & #8 : Thanks. yeah. I vaguely recall something about that from many years ago.


    BTW. Just seen via the Young Turks video clip ‘LAPD Kills Unarmed Man, Then Racially Insults Him To Deflect Blame’ about the death of Ezell Ford at police hands – see :

    Which notes :

    Harrison, who said he saw the shooting from a second-story window, said Ford had put his hands in the air when he was tackled to the ground and shot three times.[13][25] Harrison said that while on the ground Ford “was struggling like he didn’t want anyone on top of him, didn’t want anyone holding him down”.[14] Dorene Henderson, a friend of the Ford family, said she heard someone yell “Get down, get down.” She said she heard a pop and neighbors telling officers “He’s got mental problems.”[1][12] Hill said “I was sitting across the street when it happened … The cops jumped out of the car and rushed him over here into this corner. They had him in the corner and were beating him, busted him up, for what reason I don’t know he didn’t do nothing.” Hill said he heard an officer say “Shoot him”, followed by three gunshots, while Ford was on the ground.[7] Ina Smalls, who lives across the street from Ford, said she ran outside after hearing gunshots and saw Ford “on the ground, shot dead, handcuffed on his stomach”. Smalls said she did not believe that Ford had tried to take the officer’s gun.[9]

    As noted in the wikipage there are comparisons with what happened to Michael Brown – but also the story seems pretty similar to what happened to (& what was nearly told about) Walter Scott doesn’t it? I hadn’t heard of Ezell Ford before that I remember. Its starting to look awfully like a consistent serial killer type M.O. isn’t it? (I know only three cases but then these are only three of many more..)

  • sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    Liciardello, he said, warned squad members not to change their spending habits so dramatically that they attracted attention.

    Surely the whole point in stealing money is to be able to dramatically change your spending habits.

    Sir Robert Mark, a reforming Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, took the view that a good police force was one that caught more criminals than it employed.