Ex-Detroit police officer convicted of drug conspiracy charge
A federal grand jury on Tuesday convicted a former Detroit police officer on a charge of conspiracy to distribute drugs, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
The guilty verdict for Christopher Staton, 52, who was indicted last year, followed a four-day trial.
Evidence presented during the proceedings showed the ex-police officer was part of a drug trafficking organization and conspired with two dealers, Meltwaine Dukes and Sedrick Jackson, to distribute and possess controlled substances, including cocaine and fentanyl, investigators said in a statement.
Authorities say Staton used his police position to help the operation by running license plates and providing other law enforcement information.
"For instance, after a law enforcement officer stopped one of the organization’s drug couriers who was trying to deliver almost one kilogram of fentanyl, Staton provided advice to Dukes about how to handle the situation, and also agreed to find out if the courier was actually arrested," the U.S. Attorney's Office said Tuesday.
Another time, acting on Dukes' request, Staton earned $20,000 for staging a traffic stop of Jackson, who was transporting narcotics or drug proceeds, "in order to fool their drug supplier to think that police had taken" the items, according to the release.
“Christopher Staton turned his back on his oath to serve and protect the citizens of Detroit," DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin said Tuesday. "He used his position to make it easier for drug traffickers to push controlled substances into our community and now faces justice for his greed.”
Staton, who had been with the department for nearly 19 years before the indictment, also bought drugs from Dukes for re-sale, investigators reported.
“Although the vast majority of police officers in Michigan are fully dedicated to protecting the public, sometimes there is an infrequent example of an officer driven by corruption and greed,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said. “Here, instead of protecting and serving the public, Staton acted at the behest of the drug dealers peddling fentanyl."
Reached Tuesday night, Sanford Schulman, the attorney representing the former officer, said his client "was disappointed the jury found him guilty of the drug conspiracy but not guilty of counts two and three charging him with lying to federal agents. He was (a) twenty year veteran with DPD. An appeal is planned."
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox revoked Staton's bond and ordered him transferred to Bureau of Prisons custody, court records show.
Sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 24. He faces at least 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine.