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St. Louis police sergeant, brother indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

Updated 3:50 p.m.with comments from U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan.

Updated 12 p.m. on Thursday with comments from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Larry J. Davis and his brother Linus R. Davis have been charged with "diverting seized packages containing marijuana for distribution and sale" according to the United States Attorney's Office.

According to the Attorney's office, Sgt. Davis is in a supervisory role of the Central Patrol Division-Special Operations Group. The group is responsible for conducting investigations into illegal gang activities and illegal drug distribution.

Sgt. Davis was arrested earlier this morning at his home and Linus Davis is expected to surrender to authorities later this morning, the Attorney's office says.

The indictment says that Sgt. Davis and Linus Davis are accused of the following:

The indictment alleges that from October 1, 2010 through January 10, 2012,  Larry Davis visited various package delivery company branch facilities in St. Louis in his official capacity as a police officer and seized packages which were suspected of containing marijuana.  Instead of taking the seized packages to the Police Department or to the Police Laboratory, the indictment alleges that unbeknownst to the package delivery companies, Larry Davis took the seized packages to his personal residence on Eichelberger in the City of St. Louis where he and his brother Linus opened the packages and removed the concealed marijuana, which they later sold and distributed for their own personal gain.  Additionally, the indictment alleges that in order to conceal his criminal conduct, Larry Davis failed to submit police reports regarding the package seizures.  The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of two vehicles used by the brothers in their conspiracy.

Both men were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on the following counts:

  • One felony count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and
  • One felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

If convicted, the charges come with a possible maximum of five years in prison for each count in the indictment.
"This is not the first time a law enforcement officer has been charged and it won't be the last time," said U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan. "But I do think that the public should have confidence in their law enforcement. The law enforcement leadership in our community is good, and it's very dedicated to rooting out officers who betray the public trust."

Callahan says there is no indication that other officers were involved, and he praised the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for its full cooperation in the investigation.

The department issued the following statement on Davis's arrest:

"Upon being notified by the FBI of allegations against Larry Davis, the Metropolitan Police Department immediately suspended Davis from the police force on January 11, 2012. The Metropolitan Police Department fully cooperated with this investigation and is committed to ensuring the men and women of our Department are held to the highest standards. The Department will continue to be vigorous in our efforts to root out any and all persons whose actions may comprise the integrity of the organization."

An official with the St. Louis Police Officers Association says Sgt. Davis has requested legal help, likely related to his suspension.

In 2009, Sgt. Davis was sued in federal court by Robert Beene, who alleged that Davis and his partner threatened Beene with injury if he didn't tell the truth about drug activity in his neighborhood. Beene alleged that Davis and his partner punched him several times, threatened to throw him off a cliff into the Mississippi River, and placed a pistol to his head. Sgt. Davis denied the allegations, and an attorney for Beene says the case was settled in mediation in 2010.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.