2ND COP IS LINKED TO DRUG DEALING

Co-defendants plead guilty, name another officer

By Todd Lighty

Tribune Staff Writer

April 20, 1999

In a widening Chicago police corruption investigation, a second policeman was linked Monday to drug dealing and accused of delivering crack cocaine for indicted Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, according to federal court documents.

The revelation came as two more of Miedzianowski's co-defendants pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges during their appearances before U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning.

Those co-defendants, Rico Passley and Frederick Rock, agreed to help the federal government in its investigation of drug trafficking and police corruption in exchange for shorter prison sentences.

Both faced life in prison. But prosecutors are recommending that Passley receive about 12 years and that Rock get 5 years.

In his plea agreement, Passley, a member of the Imperial Gangsters street gang, told prosecutors that Miedzianowski was unable to meet him to deliver some crack last fall so a second, unidentified officer met Passley outside the offices of the gang crimes unit and delivered the drugs.

"Subsequently, the person to whom (Passley) gave the crack cocaine told (Passley) that his customers complained about the poor quality of the cocaine," according to court documents. "(Passley) called Joseph Miedzianowski and complained about the poor quality of the crack cocaine (he) had received from Police Officer A."

Passley's accounts mark the second time that a Chicago policeman, identified so far by the government only as "Police Officer A," has been linked to drug trafficking.

During earlier court appearances, other drug dealers who have already pleaded guilty in the case, alleged that Miedzianowski led a double life as a drug kingpin and that when he met with two associates in 1996 to resolve a dispute, the second officer also was present.

Miedzianowski, who pleaded not guilty last week to drug-related charges, had been a member of the gang crimes unit since 1982. He has been suspended without pay and is in federal custody.

His partner of nearly 20 years, John F. Galligan, was reassigned Thursday from the gang crimes unit to a desk job at police headquarters.

Chicago police spokeswoman Lauri Sanders said Galligan was stripped of his police powers and asked to relinquish his badge as "part of an ongoing investigation."

Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Netols indicated in court that more arrests were likely, though he wouldn't elaborate.

As the federal government continues its investigation, lawyers familiar with both sides of the case against Miedzianowski say the FBI is taking a second look at allegations the FBI has previously discounted. They include allegations that a handful of other cops were involved in stealing drugs and guns during police raids, selling drugs and undermining investigations.

Miedzianowski and 11 co-defendants were indicted earlier this month on drug conspiracy charges, accused of operating a ring that distributed more than 220 pounds of powder and crack cocaine in Chicago from 1995 to 1998.

According to court records, Miedzianowski allegedly funneled guns to a gang in its street war with a rival gang and aided the drug ring by identifying undercover cops, describing undercover police vehicles and revealing the names of confidential informants working with law enforcement.

In Rock's plea agreement, he alleged Miedzianowski and "Police Officer A" abused their powers by falsely attributing information to him in court papers used to get judges to issue search warrants.

"(He) did this in return for Joseph Miedzianowski's promise to pay (him) money for the false affidavits," according to documents.

Rock's plea agreement, however, does not identify who was searched or whether any guns or drugs were recovered, though suspects in the past have complained that Miedzianowski and other Chicago officers stole during drug raids.

In fact, according to his plea agreement, Rock said he sold about 12 pounds of cocaine "that had been taken from drug dealers by Joseph Miedzianowski."

To date, six of Miedzianowski's co-defendants have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

One of Miedzianowski's lawyers, Ralph Meczyk, questioned the motivations of those who became government witnesses.

"You have informers who are career criminal offenders who will say anything to shorten their sentences." Meczyk said. "The only way . . . they were going to get out of prison is in a pine box. They see Mr. Miedzianowski as their 'get out of jail free' card."