Prosecutor: Ex-Wayne councilman ordered fake drugs planted in employee's car

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Wayne — A former councilman for the city of Wayne faces charges in an alleged 2017 plot to entrap a city employee by planting fake drugs and a gun that shoots blanks in her vehicle, then orchestrating a traffic stop.

Christopher Sanders

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged Christopher Sanders, 51, with false report of a felony, conspiracy to commit false report of a felony, and attempted false report of a felony. Sanders was a councilman at the time of the alleged incident.

Sanders was arraigned at 35th District Court in Canton Township and given a $10,000 personal bond, which would need to be paid only if he does not show up to court.

Worthy alleges that on Oct. 16, 2017, Sanders paid a man named Jimmie Lee Chandler, 28, to break into the vehicle of a city of Wayne employee and plant the starter gun and fake drugs in the vehicle.

Then, allegedly, he followed the woman when she left the office. Prosecutors say he called 911 to report the woman's car as involved in a road rage incident that never took place.

It didn't work. Police never pulled the woman's vehicle over.

The next 911 call came from the woman, reporting what appeared to be a gun and drugs in her glove box. Maria Miller, the spokeswoman for Worthy, described the fake drug as a "powdered substance."

Michigan State Police investigated the matter and, almost three years later, arrested both Sanders and Chandler.

Chandler faces the same three felonies as Sanders and was given a $1,000 personal bond at his arraignment. Both are due back in court on Oct. 2 for their probable cause conferences. 

Attempts to reach Sanders were not immediately successful. In May 2018, voters recalled Sanders from his position on the city council.

In March 2006, Worthy charged Sanders with 12 felonies, including 10 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors. 

That July, he pleaded guilty to three counts: one of possessing a forged license and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors. In September, he was sentenced to three years of probation and six months on tether supervision, Wayne Circuit Court records show.

In June 2007, Sanders was brought in for a show cause hearing on a probation violation and was given six months in the work-release program at Wayne County Jail.

In October 2013, Sanders faced six felonies regarding alleged theft at a nonprofit: identity theft, embezzlement as a trusted agent, embezzlement from a nonprofit or charity, larceny by conversion, forgery, and uttering and publishing.

He got all but the identity theft charge dismissed at an October 2014 court hearing, records show. 

The county's first attempt at a trial ended in a hung jury in February 2015, and the case was dismissed altogether at a May 2015 hearing.

Wayne city hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

jdickson@detroitnews.com