Ohio DEA Agent Indicted for Fabricating Evidence, Perjury in 17 Cases

Update: Agent Lucas was acquitted by the jury.

Original Post

Former DEA Agent Lee Lucas has pleaded not guilty to an Indictment unsealed this week charging him with fabricating evidence, perjury and obstruction of justice in 17 cases.

A federal drug enforcement agent pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a federal indictment that accuses him of framing 17 people in controlled drug buys made by an informant.

Lee Michael Lucas, 41, of Cleveland appeared before U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver on the 18-count indictment that includes counts of obstruction of justice, making false statements in official reports, perjury and violating civil rights.

The informant Lucas worked with, Jerrell Bray, pleaded guilty in 2007 and is serving 15 years. Several civil suits are pending against Lucas and the DEA by those the duo falsely accused.[More...]

Charges eventually were dropped against those wrongly accused as a result of the controlled buys, said U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan at Pittsburgh, Pa., a special prosecutor in the case. Before then, one person was convicted and served about 16 months of a 10-year sentence; some served pretrial detention or no time in jail, she said.

Buchanan said the evidence includes the misidentification of a person who had provided drugs to the informant and recorded conversations that were scripted or prearranged. The prosecutor said she was appointed by the Justice Department to avoid an appearance of the conflict of interest among her counterpart in Ohio. She said the case should not hurt the credibility of other DEA cases.

Some of these cases went to trial. Others went to hearing. The Indictment against Lucas spells out his false testimony. No prosecutors were charged. Could they not see Lucas and Bray were lying when they ran them through their testimony before putting them on the stand? Or didn't they care?

Update: In one of the civil cases pending against Lucas and the DEA filed by Frank Douglas, one of those wrongfully charged, the following allegation is made:

40. Defendant DEA Special Agent Lee Lucas had a well-known record of manufacturing evidence to charge and prosecute persons for crimes with which they could not otherwise be charged or prosecuted. As a result of this history, in 2001 an FBI task force began investigating Lucas and others for making false reports and obstruction of justice. During the course of this investigation, members of the FBI task force met on August 21, 2003, with the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Greg White in order to discuss whether the U.S. Attorney’s office should continue to prosecute any cases investigated by Agent Lucas. Present at that meeting were several DEA supervisors. During the meeting, U.S. Attorney White referred to Lucas as a “rogue agent,” and as a result of the information provided by the FBI task force during this meeting, U.S. Attorney White issued an order directing that no criminal charges based on an investigation conducted by Agent Lucas be indicted or prosecuted unless the allegations could be corroborated by at least one other witness. The matters discussed at this meeting were documented by both the FBI and DEA, and the documentation was distributed through the chain of command at the DEA, including but not limited to the Defendant DEA supervisors listed in this Complaint, all of whom were familiar with the particulars of the FBI investigation prior to Agent Lucas’ involvement in “Operation Turnaround.”

41. Despite U.S. Attorney’s White’s 2003 order, the DEA assigned Lucas to the Mansfield area for the purpose of overseeing “Operation Turnaround.” Agent Lucas began leading the activity conducted in connection with “Operation Turnaround” beginning in the summer of 2005, and continuing at al times throughout the investigation, arrest and prosecution of Plaintiff ....

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  • Display: Sort:
    get rid of the DEA. (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Fri May 15, 2009 at 07:56:02 PM EST
    it has no legitimate reason for existing, save richard nixon's ego. if the obama administration is serious about terminating the "war on (some) drugs", which i seriously doubt, this would be a good starting point.

    Former DEA Agent?.... (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Fri May 15, 2009 at 12:57:29 PM EST
    Shocker...I'd have assumed he'd be up for a promotion with a track record like that...maybe even director.

    What is the motive? (none / 0) (#2)
    by eric on Fri May 15, 2009 at 01:40:07 PM EST
    Is he such a true believer that he thinks he can justify his own crusade against drugs?  Or does he just like the power?  

    Or both (none / 0) (#3)
    by Zorba on Fri May 15, 2009 at 02:34:38 PM EST
    It's not like there have never been federal (or local, for that matter) law enforcement agents who have knowingly lied, manufactured evidence, and/or gotten into bed with their informants (figuratively speaking).  I think it's partly the arrogance of their belief that anything is justified in order to put the "bad guys" (or those whom they are convinced are bad guys) away.  I'm sure they also get a rush from the power trip.  Plus, the more people they put away, the better their records look.

    denominator? (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Fri May 15, 2009 at 06:56:52 PM EST
    Why do I think that the percentage of prosecutors who knowingly use lying witnesses is no less than the percentage of defense attorneys who do the same?  No professional courtesy for rotten lawyers on either side.