Article with commentary in CAPS
Collins pleads guilty to drug trafficking
Former BHPD narcotics officer could serve up to 40 years for contraband frameups
By David Warfield H-P Wed., Jan. 28, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS - Former Benton Harbor Police officer Andrew Collins pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine, federal authorities announced Tuesday.
For the felony conviction, Collins faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum 40 years and up to a $2 million fine.
[BANCO AND CITIZENS OF BH BELIEVE HE DESERVES 40 YEARS/20M]
Collins, 26, was indicted in December by a U.S. District Court grand jury in December.
[SHOULD HAVE BEEN INDICTED AT LEAST TWO YEARS SOONER]
The charge stemmed from a February 2008 police department investigation that turned up a large stash of drugs in Collins' police locker. [POLICE CHIEF MINGO'S LOCKER SHOULD BE CHECKED]
The drugs, including about nine grams of cocaine, some marijuana, and heroin, should have been recorded and stored as evidence, but Collins instead kept them for his own gain.
In his plea, Collins admitted to keeping drugs seized during arrests, then reporting false and fictitious purchases and using the drugs he held to improperly secure warrants and make arrests in other cases. [WE HOPE HE DECIDES TO BE HONEST TO STOP THE SUFFERING. TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT MINGO, PETE MITCHELL, BERNARD HALL, ART COTTER, AND ON AND ON]
Collins quit the Benton Harbor force Feb. 20, 2008 - two days after the drugs were found in his locker. Two days later Collins was convicted in the Berrien County Trial Court on an assault charge stemming from a bar fight in November 2007. He was later put on probation for the assault conviction.
Collins was free on bond before pleading guilty Monday to the drug charges. He is now back in custody and will be sent to a federal prison after sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Delaney said Tuesday. [AFTER 100'S OF FAMILIES HAVE BEEN RUINED BY DRUG PLANTING (FRAMING), BANCO HOPES HE GETS 40 YEARS]
In a press release, Delaney said the U.S. Attorney's office in Grand Rapids is working with authorities to "seek out and remedy" wrongful convictions resulting from Collins' misconduct.
[U.S. ATTYS. IN GR ARE FORCING BERRIEN COUTNY PROSECUTOR ART COTTER TO SEEK OUT AND REMEDY WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS]
In December, Berrien County Prosecutor Arthur Cotter asked courts to reverse convictions against 24 people convicted of drug charges based on evidence obtained by Collins.
[THERE SHOULD BE WELL OVER 100 REVERSED CONVICTIONS PROSECUTED BY COTTER BASED ON EVIDENCE OBTAINED BY COLLINS]
Cotter said last month he sought court orders to release those in prison for the offenses, and that he is seeking a retrial for two of the 24 improperly convicted. [COTTER NEEDS TO BE TRIED!]