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Corrupt Detroit cop sentenced to prison for drug scheme

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — A former Detroit Police officer convicted of helping two drug kingpins sell cocaine and fentanyl was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox sentenced Christopher Staton, 53, five months after a jury convicted the former officer of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

The sentence is the second-longest for a public official convicted of a crime during a crackdown on public corruption in Metro Detroit that has stretched over more than a decade. The longest is the 28-year prison term given to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2013.

Driven by greed: A database of corruption in Detroit

During the crackdown, more than 109 labor leaders, politicians, police officers and bureaucrats have been charged with federal corruption-related crimes, according to a database built by The Detroit News.

Staton was part of a drug trafficking organization and conspired with dealers Meltwaine Dukes and Sedrick Jackson, prosecutors said. Staton ran license plates, provided sensitive law enforcement information and was paid $20,000 to stage a traffic stop of Jackson to trick their drug supplier into thinking police had seized drugs or money, according to the government.

Staton also was a customer, buying and reselling drugs from Dukes.

"Christopher Staton had a choice. Enforce the law and protect the citizens of Detroit, or use his experience as a police officer and his law enforcement tools to assist a drug trafficking empire," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Cares wrote in a sentencing memorandum. "He chose the latter. Again. And again. And again."

Former Detroit Police Officer Christopher Staton is among more than 109 public officials charged in public corruption cases in the last decade in Detroit.

Dukes, meanwhile, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison while Jackson received a 12-year sentence.

“Christopher Staton turned his back on his oath to serve and protect the citizens of Detroit. 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,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin said in a statement.

Staton's lawyer Sanford Schulman pushed for a 10-year sentence, saying his client is a family man who risked his life every day as a police officer, is dedicated to his community and is a spiritual leader.

"It is highly unlikely he will ever reoffend and given his history and his dedication, he will return to the community hoping to do what he has done all of his life: contribute, sacrifice and make a positive influence on others," the lawyer wrote.

Twitter: @robertsnellnews