Metro Detroit police officer trafficked fentanyl-laced heroin, feds say
A Highland Park detective who federal law enforcement officials said sold fentanyl-laced heroin while on duty and in uniform faces federal drug trafficking charges, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.
Tiffany Lipkovitch, 45, of Grosse Pointe, is accused of selling drugs in Wayne and Oakland counties in 2018, according to the complaint. Amber Bellamy, 38, of Detroit, is also charged and is described in the federal complaint as Lipkovitch's friend and supplier.
The allegations are detailed in an 18-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit. The complaint was signed May 27 after an investigation by the FBI Detroit's Office which involved the use of an informant who was wearing a recording device during the alleged drug transactions involving Lipkovitch.
Lipkovitch and Bellamy were arrested Wednesday, according to a news release from the office of acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Saima Mohsin.If convicted as charged, the women face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
A phone number for Bellamy could not be located. Lipkovitch did not answer calls to two phone numbers previously associated with her.
“We do not condone this type of activity," Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp said in the statement released by Mohsin's office. "The citizens of Highland Park have expectations, as they should, that law enforcement officers obey the laws they swore to enforce. Like anyone else in the community, if a person violates the law they should be brought to justice.”
Timothy Waters, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division, said in the statement: "The arrests this morning by state and federal agents are an example of the law enforcement community's joint effort in prosecuting police officers that abuse their authority and abandon their oath to serve and protect our communities.
"Today shows the commitment of law enforcement to root out police corruption and abuse of authority within its ranks."
The drug sales took place between June and September of 2018 at various metro Detroit locations, according to the complaint. Lipkovitch and Bellamy are charged with distributing a controlled substance and conspiring to distribute controlled substances.
Authorities said Wednesday that federal agents recorded numerous calls and meetings between Lipkovitch, a Highland Park officer since 2011, and a confidential informant about a drug transaction.
Lipkovitch gave the source “samples” or “pictures” of the drugs that were available from her associate, Bellamy, explaining that one was “$80 a gram” and the others were $100 per gram, according to Mohsin's office. When Lipkovitch asked what they were diluting or “cuttin” the drugs with, the confidential informant responded that people used “fentanyl.”
The information did not surprise Lipkovitch, who explained that Bellamy was getting “a package of fentanyl...from overseas,” according to Mohsin's office. The informant was introduced to Bellamy by Lipkovitch and was sold 45 grams of a fentanyl-heroin mixture. The confidential informant later met with Lipkovitch, who was on duty and in her police uniform and gave her $300 for facilitating the drug deal, according to Mohsin's office.
The complaint includes pictures of Lipkovitch wearing her Highland Park police uniform during the meet-upat a gas station in the city where she was involved in a drug transaction, according to the complaint. That meeting ended "because Likovitch had to respond to a police call at a local bank," according to the complaint.
In one meeting in July 2018, an informant met Lipkovitch at a Detroit casino to purchase three baggies of a substance that was later verified by the Oakland County Sheriff's Department to be a mix of heroin and fentanyl, according to the complaint. The document also contains various accounts of conversations and meetings between the informant and the two women.
During the July meeting with the informant, Lipkovitch complained that the price of the drug charged by her supplier, which the feds say was Bellamy, was too high for her to make a profit, according to the complaint.
"Ain't a penny for me to make," she said, according to the complaint.
Lipkovitch is a former Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputy who was fired from the department in 2010 for alleged misconduct, according to court records. She was accused of misconduct, including fraternization with known felons who were inmates housed at the Michigan Department of Corrections, according to federal court records.
MDOC officials submitted a complaint to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Internal Affairs staff alleging that Lipkovitch took part in a smuggling scheme with state prison inmates involving commissary items and illegal drugs.
Lipkovitch was determined to have violated the sheriff's office's policies and rules and was fired, records show. She later filed a civil lawsuit against the sheriff's office and her union, records show. It was ultimately dismissed.