Judge: Drug case against Harvey cop can go forward

December 4, 2008 3:34:45 PM PST
A judge upheld charges against a former Harvey police officer accused of providing security for what he allegedly thought was a drug deal. Archie Stallworth is one of 17 defendants accused of corruption involving drug trafficking. Fifteen are law enforcement officers.

Of the 15 law enforcement personnel charged in this yearlong FBI drug sting, Harvey police officer Stallworth was the first to be arrested.

Picked up last month, he resigned his job in short order, though his police higher-ups didn't know why until the sting was revealed two days ago. On Thursday as he went to court, federal prosecutors played an undercover tape in which Stallworth recommends to a supposed drug dealer that Harvey is a good place to do his business.

Stallworth was a Harvey police detective for two years, but the FBI says Stallworth was also moonlighting on the other side of the law, allegedly providing armed security for what he thought was a drug transaction. In reality, it was an FBI sting.

The FBI released an undercover picture of Stallworth August 11 carrying two bags filled with what's represented to be cocaine. Two weeks earlier, Stallworth met with the agent he thought was a dealer and offered advice on where to conduct drug transfers.

"The best spot for ya'll to do that, believe it or not, is the train station," Stallworth says. "You tell me when, but nothing on the phone."

The agent then pays Stallworth $300.

"I'll take care of you. This is chump change you just made," the undercover agent said.

"OK, I'm cool with that," Stallworth replied.

The agent later explained that a typical transfer would involve 20 to 50 kilos of cocaine. To that Stallworth responded, "Ah (expletive), I can do something like that, but (expletive) Harvey is the best (expletive) place for you to do it."

Stallworth left the federal building at a brisk pace Thursday morning, hat covering his face, uninterested in answering questions - specifically, how would he explain carrying bags supposedly filled with cocaine?

"That is a question that I would rather not answer at this time, but you'll have an answer at some point in time? I believe we will have an answer and that it will be sufficient," said Benjamin Starks, Stallworth attorney.

In court, his attorney seemed to be suggesting that Stallworth's defense is that he was conducting his own narcotics investigation.

If Stallworth were to raise in his defense that he was conducting his own investigation, it would also require him to explain why he then resigned his police job.

Not only was he a Harvey cop, Stallworth was also a conductor on the Metra Electric Line. He's been suspended without pay. While working as a cop two years ago, he was the first person to find the body of slain Metra policeman Thomas Cook, a murder that remains unsolved.


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