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  1. Heretic.Ape.
    DEA cases in question after informant said he lied

    Informant who admits he lied jeopardizes convictions, lawyers say
    Tuesday, July 24, 2007Mike Tobin
    http://www.cleveland.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1185266194130890.xml&coll=2
    Plain Dealer Reporter

    The decision by U.S. Attorney Greg White to release a woman from prison and drop charges against two men could be the tip of the iceberg in a federal perjury investigation.
    Dozens of convictions and pending cases in which DEA agent Lee Lucas investigated and Jerrell Bray was paid for information will come under scrutiny, several lawyers said Monday.
    Bray told police in May that he made up testimony and lied on the witness stand in several drug cases.
    "This is much more than a story about an informant who recants his testimony or prior statements," said John McCaffrey, who represents Bray. "My conclusion is that the conduct of Lucas in these two cases needs to be critically examined."
    Bray's statements led White to drop charges this month against Joshawa Webb and Curtis Anderson, who were both in jail awaiting trial.
    White also took the unusual step of asking a judge to release Geneva France from prison, where she was serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted on drug charges. Lucas and Bray testified in France's trial that they bought cocaine from her.
    Carlos Warner, who represents Webb, believes Lucas made sworn statements that he knew were untrue.
    "Our investigation raises serious questions as to whether or not Agent Lucas has either obstructed justice or committed perjury," Warner said.
    Lucas could not be reached for comment. He returned to his hometown Cleveland in 2000 after stints working for the DEA in Miami and Bolivia.
    He is known in law enforcement circles as someone who makes a lot of drug cases and isn't afraid to work undercover. He often works in cooperation with Cleveland police, most recently spearheading the case against the Hough Heights gang for selling gallons of PCP near East 93rd Street.
    Defense attorney Jim Jenkins, who represents one of the accused in the Hough Heights case, said Lucas will become an issue in that case.
    "Any time a government witness has their credibility called into question, it taints the entire investigation," Jenkins said.
    Attorney Greg Robey said he is preparing a lawsuit against Bray, Lucas and the DEA after his client, Lowestco Ballard, spent nearly eight months in jail before being acquitted in a drug trial.
    In that case, Lucas and Bray testified that Bray bought drugs from Ballard in 2005. But surveillance video shows the drug dealer was about 5-foot-9. Ballard is 6-foot-5, Robey said.
    "It's a scary, scary thing," Robey said, whose client would have been sentenced to 20 years in prison if convicted.
    The cases against Webb and France date to 2005. Bray, a longtime drug dealer whose record includes a conviction for manslaughter, was paid to introduce Lucas, working undercover, to Mansfield crack dealers.
    In both the France and Webb cases, Lucas testified that Bray introduced him to drug dealers in October 2005. Lucas described both deals nearly the same: The dealer gave Lucas the drugs while Lucas handed them the cash.
    But in both cases, investigators have located people who said they - and not France or Webb - were in the car with Lucas and Bray when the drug deals were made.
    Also, both people corroborated Bray's new statement - that the deal did not go down the way Lucas testified it did. They described deals in which Lucas and Bray were the main participants and they only witnessed the transaction.
    One woman told investigators three weeks ago that Bray picked her up and then they met Lucas, who was working undercover. Bray gave the drugs to Lucas while Lucas gave Bray the cash.
    The woman in the car said she did not handle the drugs, as Lucas testified. Her only involvement was counting the money after Bray handed it to her, McCaffrey said.
    The woman also looks nothing like France, McCaffrey said.
    During France's trial in Cleveland last year, Lucas testified he was certain France sold him drugs.
    "When I gave her the money, when we talked the whole time, I turned around and we had a face-to-face conversation," Lucas testified. "I was probably maybe a foot and a half from her."
    France had no criminal record. She testified that she was home with her three young daughters at the time of the alleged drug sale, but a jury didn't believe her.
    France, 24, was convicted in February 2006 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She spent 16 months in prison until last month, when White asked for her release pending the investigation into Lucas and Bray.
    In Webb's case, another man who looks similar to him has come forward and met with investigators. Jeremiah Conrad told investigators that he was in a car with Bray and "an older white man" believed to be Lucas.
    Lucas said Webb was in a car with him and Bray in October 2005. Lucas said he gave Webb $2,600 and then Webb gave him the crack cocaine.
    Conrad gave a different version of events when interviewed at a drug rehabilitation center. Bray asked Conrad to ride with him on a drug deal. Conrad agreed and they went to a gas station, where they met Lucas. Conrad said he sat silently while Lucas bought drugs from Bray.
    "I never touched the drugs or money," Conrad told investigators. "Jerrell gave the drugs to the white guy and the white guy gave him the money."
    Two weeks ago, Webb passed a polygraph test in which he denied selling drugs to Lucas or even meeting him.
    One week later, charges against Webb were dismissed. He spent 20 months in jail waiting for his case to go to trial.
    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
    mtobin@plaind.com, 216-999-4128

    © 2007 The Plain Dealer © 2007 cleveland.com All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. old hippie 56
    Sounds like another Tulia incident with a narc looking for another easy collar.
  2. raven3davis
    Bray, a longtime drug dealer whose record includes a conviction for manslaughter.........ding ding ding....sounds like we have a L O S E R. Just go ahead and shorten someones sentence who is a possible threat to the community.

    Who cares if he ran someone over or whatever....as long as he narcs out a few crack dealers he will get less time than them. He truly might have killed someone on accident but SWIM would like to know more details about this manslaughter. If he wasn't truthful in trial maybe he wasn't truthful when being convicted for manslaughter...
  3. old hippie 56
    DEA Agent indicted for framing 17 people.

    Over and over, the very foundations of the war on drugs are revealed to be utterly fraudulent and corrupt. These laws are harmful enough when they're enforced honestly, but moments like this really illustrate what a colossal fraud this whole thing truly is:

    CLEVELAND — An agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was indicted today on charges that he lied repeatedly in a botched 2005 drug case that caused 17 people to be wrongly charged.

    Lee Lucas, a 19-year veteran, was charged in U.S. District Court in Cleveland with perjury, making false statements, obstruction of justice and violating a person's civil rights involving a case that resulted in 26 arrests in Mansfield. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

    As one might expect, all of this revolves around a lying informant who played everyone in a desperate attempt to save his own hide. Officer Lucas is accused of failing to provide proper supervision and repeatedly lying to cover up the mess.

    Of course, Lucas's fellow officers have eagerly come to his defense, because there scarcely exists any form of police misconduct so shocking to the conscience as to disqualify from being treated as a martyr by their colleagues. This comment, posted on the Plain Dealer story, perfectly reveals the mentality that police aren't responsible for mistakes in the war on drugs

    Lee Lucas is being a scapegoat for a convicted drug criminal named Jarrell Bray. Jerrel Bray turned on Lee because Lee would not engage in getting Jerrel off the hook for a shooting Jerrel committed.

    Jerrel is afraid to return to prison as a snitch. Can you blame him? He is a weasel who is trying to save his skin on the inside.

    How do you think a snitch like Jerrel would function in the big House?

    Is Jerrell Bray the person you want to trust?

    No, he's not, and that's exactly the problem. This shady informant's dubious allegations should never have formed the basis for criminal charges against anyone. It was Lucas and the DEA who trusted this guy and used him to serve their agenda, not anyone else. Everything these informants say is treated as gospel when it comes to getting search warrants and scoring convictions, but the second the informant turns on the cops, all you hear is that informants can never be trusted. No kidding.

    If you rely on untrustworthy people to help you make drug arrests, then your drug arrests can't be trusted. It's just that simple. And if you can't (as drug cops often claim) do basic drug enforcement without relying on these people, then it follows that solid and reliable drug enforcement is truly impossible.

    It's amazing to watch a disgraced drug cop comes forward and try to defend himself with no better argument than the fact that his whole job revolves around working with notorious liars to put people in jail who may or may not have done anything wrong. It sounds like Lucas stepped way out of line here, but the real fault lies with the way our drug laws are enforced in general. Can you even imagine how often this process produces gratuitous injustices without anyone but the innocent defendant paying the price?

    Source-dcr.net
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