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NHPD narcotics cop pleads guilty

  Breaking Legal News  -   POSTED: 2007/10/29 13:58

Former New Haven Police Department Lt. William “Billy” White, who headed the department’s narcotics unit for more than a decade, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit bribery and theft of government property. White’s change of plea status — he pleaded not guilty shortly after his arrest last March — may result in a lesser sentence than if had he not changed his plea and had then been found guilty. White’s decision follows close on the heels of guilty pleas by former NHPD Detectives Jose Silva and Justen Kasperzyk, two other subjects of the federal investigation.

Following White and Kasperzyk’s arrest, the NHPD disbanded the narcotics unit and the city hired the Police Executive Research Forum to evaluate the NHPD. At forums since the original arrests, some city residents expressed frustration with a department they said has lost sight of community policing.

City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the three former police officers do not represent the general conduct of the rest of New Haven’s police force.

“It’s important for the community to understand that this is three officers who did despicable things,” Mayorga said. “These … officers do not represent the hard work of those 400 other officers.”

White has been charged with one count of bribery conspiracy — for which he faces up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine — and two counts of government property theft, which could lead to 10 years and $250,000 in penalties. White must also pay restitution for the stolen federal and local funds and forfeit the money he gained from the bribery conspiracy, which will total over $25,000.

But the guilty plea affords White the benefit of a potential reduction of his Adjusted Offense Level, making 37 to 46 months imprisonment and a fine between $7,500 and $75,000 the most probable punishment. White is also subject to three years of supervised release after his prison term ends.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation began its undercover operation in July 2006, when a clandestine Connecticut State Police Sergeant began working with White, the supervisor of NHPD’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit at the time. Several incidents — including an FBI sting operation on Jan. 31, 2007 — confirmed White’s participation in unlawful acts and culminated in his indictment.

The FBI planted about $27,500 in a car with hidden cameras and microphones during its sting operation, luring White to the scene with a tip from the undercover agent’s informant. During this first encounter, White searched the trunk and removed $5,000 of the cash, professing he would not steal all of the funds in order to protect the informant’s safety. But later in the day, White, thinking the money belonged to a drug dealer, returned to the car and stole all of the money, splitting the stolen funds with the unnamed undercover officer.


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