OPP officer pleads guilty to theft, drug and firearms charge

These are violations by the Ontario Provincial Police officers dealing with the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Substance and Abuse Act, Customs and Excise Act, etc.

OPP officer pleads guilty to theft, drug and firearms charge

Postby Thomas » Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:06 pm

A Leeds County OPP officer has pleaded guilty to theft, drug and firearms charges, including theft of more than $5,000 from the provincial police.

George Duke, a 20-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to the six charges in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brockville this week.

The charges included the theft of more than $5,000, which was the property of the OPP, and one charge of breach of trust in connection with the theft.

He also pleaded guilty to two firearms-related charges: The careless storage of a .22-calibre rifle and the careless storage of ammunition of four different calibres.

Duke also pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession: One for methamphetamine and another for oxycodone.

Justice Kimberley Moore remanded Duke over to March 29.

All of the charges date back to October 31, 2015 when Duke was arrested as part of Project Arrowtown, an 18-month investigation into alleged criminal activity by police officers in Leeds County.

The OPP’s organized crime enforcement and professional standards bureaus, with the help of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, OPP Emergency Response Team and the Montreal police force, conducted Project Arrowtown, which was launched in May 2014 and resulted in the execution of seven search warrants.

The six charges are not Duke’s only brush with the law. In September, he pleaded guilty to assaulting an elderly man during a routine traffic stop.

That incident, involving a 78-year-old Montreal man, occurred just two months before his Project Arrowtown arrests.

Duke was fined $500 on the assault charge.

http://www.thewhig.com/2018/01/20/opp-o ... ms-charges

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OPP Officer ‘sorry’ for stealing money, drugs

Postby Thomas » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:26 pm

A Leeds County OPP officer, who stole drugs and money from suspects, including $10,000 he stashed in the rafters of his Maitland home, will be sentenced Sept. 27.

George Duke, who pleaded guilty to six theft, drug and firearms charges last January, was contrite and apologetic when he appeared at his sentencing hearing on Monday.

“I am very, very sorry — I cannot express my sorrow enough,” the 55-year-old Duke told the Ontario Court of Justice, adding that his “embarrassment is beyond what you could understand.”

He said he can’t explain his actions because “no explanation is possible,” and he apologized to his police colleagues.

His lawyer, Mark Wallace, asked that Duke be given a 12-month sentence to be served at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, where he could be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Wallace pointed to a psychiatric evaluation of Duke that suggested his mental health problems “may” have contributed to his criminal behaviour.

The lawyer referred to Duke’s last two annual OPP job evaluations in 2014 and 2015, which showed the constable was a driven and hard-working officer who outperformed most other police officers. Wallace suggested that Duke’s work ethic and drive were his way of coping with his “unwell feelings” by throwing himself into his work.

Although a 2015 police raid found Duke to be in possession of methamphetamine and oxycodone, there was no indication that he used the drugs himself, nor was there evidence that he intended to sell the drugs, hence the simple possession change, Wallace said.

But Crown prosecutor Paul McDermott argued that Duke’s crimes were motivated by greed and that he acted like a “common thief.” McDermott urged that Duke be sentenced to two years plus a day.

McDermott said the money stolen by Duke included $1,500 that was stashed in an envelope behind the visor of a car and $10,000 in the trunk.

When Duke was arrested a few days later, he was carrying $840 cash from the envelope — the rest he had apparently spent — and the $10,000 was hidden in the rafters of his basement so that Duke could use the money “as his personal bank,” McDermott said.

“Mr. Duke used his uniform, his badge and his authority as a disguise to steal money to become a thief — a common thief,” McDermott said.

Duke’s action “compromises every other police officer and it causes disillusionment if not distrust in the public,” he said.

McDermott acknowledged that Duke had mental health issues, including PTSD and some depression, but he suggested that Duke began exaggerating his problems after he was arrested in October 2015.

The $10,000 stolen by Duke was fake, part of a sting operation by the OPP’s organized crime enforcement and professional standards bureaus, with assistance from the RCMP and Montreal police. Called Project Arrowhead, the investigation was launched in May 2014 and resulted in the execution of seven search warrants, including the one at Duke’s Maitland home.

Along with the drugs and stolen money, the raid found a carelessly stored .22-calibre rifle and improperly stored ammunition.

McDermott argued that had the money been part of a real drug case, and not a police sting, Duke’s actions could have affected a trial by either letting a guilty person get off or by convicting an innocent one.

Duke, who joined the Canadian military at the age of 16 and served 17 years before joining the OPP and serving another 20 years, said he had approached his police superiors about his mental health problems on two occasions before the thefts. He said he felt that the OPP brass treated him differently afterward.

Justice Kim Moore set over the sentencing until Sept. 27 to accommodate vacation scheduling.

Duke has continued to collect his OPP salary while on suspension. Last year he was paid $102,945, according to the government’s “Sunshine List.” In 2016, he was paid $107,857 while on suspension.

http://www.thewhig.com/2018/06/04/opp-o ... oney-drugs
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OPP officer gets 21 months in jail

Postby Thomas » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:39 am

George Duke pleaded guilty to theft, breach of trust, drug and firearms charges.

A veteran OPP officer, who was nabbed in an undercover police sting, was sentenced Thursday to 21 months in jail on theft, breach of trust, drug and firearms charges.

Justice Kimberly Moore of the Ontario Court of Justice recommended that George Duke, 55, serve his time in the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, where he could be treated for depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Duke pleaded guilty to the six charges earlier this year. He stole $11,500 from undercover officers posing as drug-money couriers, possessed drugs including methamphetamine, marijuana and crack cocaine, and carelessly stored a rifle and ammunition at his Maitland home. Some of the drugs – marijuana and crack – were discovered in his duty bag in his locker at a local OPP detachment.

Duke, who joined the OPP at the age of 32 after spending 16 years in the Canadian Forces, was caught by undercover cops on Oct. 30, 2015.

After months of investigating Duke, the police set up a sting on Highway 401, posing as illicit money couriers.

The two officers rented a car and packed $112,000 cash in a gym bag in the trunk. The driver carried $1,500 in his pocket and another $1,500 was stashed in an envelope behind the visor.

The undercover cops then sped along the 401 at 173 km/hr until Duke pulled them over for speeding.

Duke found the money, arrested and released the driver and took the cash back to the station where he turned most of it over.

But the constable took a bundle of $10,000 from the gym bag and kept the envelope of $1,500.

When OPP searched his house, they found the $10,000 hidden in the rafters of his basement and Duke carried $840 from the envelope. The officers found two baggies of meth and 57 oxycodone pills in Duke’s bedroom. Small bags of pot were discovered around the house. In Duke’s locker at the OPP detachment, investigators found pot, hash and crack cocaine. At his house, an improperly stored rifle was in his bedroom and ammo was found around the house.

Moore noted that Duke insists he didn’t take drugs himself and that he wasn’t an addict, although he didn’t explain the drugs.

“This of course leaves one wondering why he had all of the drugs that were seized from many locations in his home and his locker if his intention was not to consume them,” Moore said.

Of the six charges against Duke, Moore said she regarded the breach of trust and the thefts as the most serious.

Duke showed a “complete disregard” for his oath of office and he brought disrespect on the OPP and administration of justice, Moore said. And even though Duke acted alone, there will be some people “who speculate on the honesty and integrity of other police officers and of the judicial system itself as the result of Mr. Duke’s actions,” she said in her ruling.

“The harm caused to the public and also the potential harm to the reputation of the Ontario Provincial Police is not disputed,” Moore said.

The judge also noted that Duke has a criminal record. Two months before the Oct. 30, 2015 sting, the burly Duke assaulted a 71-year-old man during a traffic stop and tightened the handcuffs so tight that the man’s wrists bled. He was given a fine two years later.

If you total up the maximum sentences on the six charges against Duke, they would amount to 24 years in prison.

But Moore said there are some factors in Duke’s favour.

Duke pleaded guilty to the charges; he was suffering from mental health issues for many years; he was apologetic; and he was regarded as a hard-working and dedicated officer before the crimes, Moore said.

As well, former cops don’t do well in prison and they have to serve much of their time in protective custody.

Since his charges, Duke has been suspended on full salary of more than $100,000 a year.

Moore referred to that in her sentence:

“There are, I suspect, some members of the public who are dismayed that Mr. Duke has been suspended with pay since these charges were laid almost three years ago. While these feelings are understandable, it is also important to note that until a finding of guilt was made, Mr. Duke was presumed to be innocent. Once that finding was made, there were several very important steps that had to take place in order to prepare for a sentencing of this nature.”

https://www.recorder.ca/news/local-news ... hs-in-jail
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