Feds indict Detroit cop on drug conspiracy charges
A Detroit police officer has been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug conspiracy charges, the U.S. Attorney's office said Friday.
The indictment against Christopher Staton, 51, of Detroit, was made Thursday for one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of making a false statement to a special agent of the FBI. Staton faces up to life in prison and a fine of $10 million for the drug conspiracy count and up to five years and a $250,000 fine for the false statement count.
Federal officials said Staton allegedly conspired with 10 other drug traffickers, in 2012 through 2017, to sell heroin, fentanyl and cocaine and that he allegedly helped to provide these traffickers with "sensitive law enforcement information," including a co-conspirator's arrest and vehicle registrations.
U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider made the announced via a news release and praised the FBI and others in the DEA, IRS and Detroit Police Chief James Craig in the investigation.
One of those officials, DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy Plancon, said the "Detroit Police Department is a long-standing partner" to eradicate drug trafficking and "its related violence” from the city and the indictment doesn't hinder "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," Plancon said. "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.”
Craig during a press conference Friday noted Staton would have been with the department for 19 years on Sunday.
“He didn’t have any discipline on his history and worked on our elite units," Craig said. "This is someone who had a great reputation, and when these allegations came up we have to question: ‘How'd he get away with this?’"
Craig also addressed the impact the indictment might have on public perception of the department.
“We’re not feeling good about it," he said. "As much as we do to build trust in our communities, sometimes it takes one officer who makes a bad decision ... and this officer is going to pay for that bad decision. ... We’ll find out when an officer tries to engage in criminal activity. This should not reflect the hard work of the police department or any other agency, in fact. I applaud the effort by the FBI and the U.S. attorney.”
Staff writer Sarah Rahal contributed.