Detroit— A former Detroit police officer, who resigned from the force six years ago after extorting money from a gas station owner, is accused of masterminding a major prescription drug ring that operated in Ohio.
Brandon Allen, 29, of Detroit, was arrested Friday at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta, where he planned to flee the country, according to the Athens County, Ohio Prosecutor’s Office, which spearheaded the five-month-long investigation.
Allen allegedly bought black-market oxycodone pills in Detroit and distributed them in Ohio, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said.
Blackburn said Allen began selling the pills to Ohio contacts in 2009 — just months after he entered into a plea deal in federal court that allowed him to avoid prison time for extorting money from a Detroit gas station owner during a police run.
Allen and his partner, Aaron Scott, who were assigned to the Detroit Police Tactical Services Section, responded on Oct. 19, 2007, to a run to the Marathon gas station at W. Warren and the Jeffries Freeway, where the clerk, Hamzah Nasser, had pulled a shotgun on some troublemakers, according to federal court documents.
When Allen and Scott arrived at the station, they placed Nasser in handcuffs. Allen told the clerk he could get into trouble for brandishing the shotgun, but agreed to drop the matter if he was paid $200. The station’s surveillance camera captured the money exchange, and the two officers resigned when they were charged with extortion.
Both officers pleaded guilty in 2008. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Oberg asked Judge David M. Lawson to impose a sentence below the 18 to 24 months recommended under federal sentencing guidelines. The judge agreed, and placed the reasons for the downward sentencing departure under seal.
Both officers were sentenced to six months in a halfway house and six months of home confinement.
Blackburn said Allen began buying painkillers in 2009 and driving to Ohio, according to authorities.
“In 2011, we believe his Ohio contacts began driving to Detroit twice a month to get a better price on the pills,” Blackburn said.
The last sale allegedly happened on April 27, when Allen sold 3,400 pills for $66,000.
“Another 400 were given on credit,” Blackburn said.
During his five years of allegedly running the operation, Allen sold more than $3 million in drugs, Blackburn said.
“Our investigation shows he used the words ‘gold mine’ to describe Athens County,” Blackburn said of the community about 60 miles southeast of Columbus.
Detroit Police, Michigan State Police, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security were among several agencies that helped with the case.
Allen, who also owns the “Star Status Music Group,” which promotes rappers, had a $100,000 Mercedes Benz in the garage of his home in the 400 block of New Town Street in Detroit when officers raided it this weekend, Blackburn said.
“We’ve began forfeiture action on the house,” Blackburn said.
Allen waived extradition from Atlanta, and authorities are working toward moving him to Athens County to face charges.
“Being a former Detroit Police officer, I think he figured we’d never catch him,” Blackburn said. “He underestimated the will of law enforcement in Athens County.”