San Luis Police officers guilty of drug smuggling

May 3, 2010

By KAREN VELIE

CalCoastNews has learned that two San Luis Obispo police officers have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of bringing misbranded Mexican prescription drugs into the United States at the San Ysidro port of entry south of San Diego.

The officers, Dan McDow and Armando Limon, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors in exchange for no jail time and a year of unsupervised probation, according to court documents obtained by CalCoastNews.

Last Sept. 15, the two officers were stopped and detained while reentering the U.S. from the Mexican border town of Tijuana, said Lauren Mack, spokesperson for Immigration and Customs in San Diego.

The officers were attempting to bring more than 800 pills, including both uppers and diet pills, into the United States. Neither officer had prescriptions for the Spanish labeled drugs.

McDow and Limon were placed on paid leave on Sept. 16 after the city learned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were investigating them.  The officers earned more than $150,000 during the investigation.

As of March 11 of this year, Limon had received $75,393 in total pay and benefits and, for McDow, that amounts to $75,817. The officers remain on paid administrative leave.

Update: This story has been updated to include some drug types as well as the quantity of pills.


88 Comments

  1. rogerfreberg says:

    When nearly 150 eligible local college students were surveyed as to their intent to vote for or against the Proposition to Legalize Marijuana in California and over 80% said YES… you know you have a big problem.

    Like the Military, I hope that law enforcement will continue to be an institution of integrity… even in the face of the rising temptations and troubles that lie ahead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

    • HonestyPlanet says:

      Sorry, but had to log in to deal with this one. It’s wonderful to know that 80% of young people embarking upon the road of college studies are intelligent enough to realize that prohibition, whether as a constitutional amendment dealing with alcohol….or as more recently enacted in the “war on drugs” legislation, is a concept that simply doesn’t work, imposes huge costs upon our society, and leads to economic insanity…….The big problem, in fact, are the people who refuse to recognize reality and rely upon their own concepts of “true morality” in order to judge the remaining human beings on the planet. It’s this simple…if you want to make any drug illegal, then by your own judgement you should make all drugs illegal, INCLUDING TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL……But let’s face it, shall we….it’s the ultimate in hypocracy to condemn the “80%” while you enjoy your martini or Coors light. Even it you’re a tee-totaler, that’s your choice, and assuming that you agree that America was founded upon the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness, why should your idea of happiness control? It shouldn’t, and you know it. Here’s the deal, Prohibition didn’t work seventy years ago, and it’s not working today. Al Capone has been replaced by the Mexican Mafia (and other gangs)…and we pretend that we can’t figure out why all this has happened??? I am truly so amazed that Prohibition was actually repealed…..It only took our grandparents a decade to figure it out…..When I read a post like the one I’m responding to, I’m even more amazed how long we’ve delayed in dealing with the same issue……….Apparently our grandparents were a lot smarter then we realize… Clearly a lot smarter than anyone who thinks that 80% of eligible local college student are a big problem.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

    • HonestyPlanet says:

      Huge Problem……I can’t figure out why they don’t understand why PROHIBITION is really effective and best for all concerned. It’s not like the current laws have empowered Al Capone……except for the Mexcian Mafia I mean… and look how the laws have eliminated drugs in our society….just like Prohibtion did when they amended the constitution….Yes Siree…big problems, these kids are idiots, they must think that prohibition doesn’t work??? Good thing we can rely upon the local police to ensure that laws are enforced and everything is wonderful…..RIGHT?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • mkaney says:

      You can argue until you’re blue in the face, and cite mountains of evidence, you will never change Roger’s perception. Though he is an intelligent person, generally speaking, he believes what he believes when it comes to things like dope smoking and the military.

      In truth though, law enforcement cannot “continue” to be an institution of integrity because it has already ceased to be such an institution. Although before the Vietnam war, the military may have been an institution of integrity because those who served truly believed in what they were doing, it also has long since ceased to be that. In fact, it is now the exact opposite of integrity, as it is an institution in which your success is determined by how much you are willing to do what you’re told, not by following what your internally believe to be the right thing.

      Though I suppose to Roger, doing what you’re told IS the right thing. I can respect that, but I don’t agree with it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • Cindy says:

        Honesty and Mkaney, Great Posts, the problem is that you both make too much sense. Some people can’t cope with that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • cheseburger says:

          Ha Cindy I missed that one go down I wrote mine before I read yours sorry to repeat info.,,,,, Thanks,, let’s see if he can speak English in other words pretend you are taking to a gangster from south central and we all will be able to relate,,, not joking.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    While we are at it, try this website as well:

    http://www.narconews.com/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Cindy says:

      Interesting site that you point to Gimlet Eye, I wonder how many people have bothered to take a look. Problem is that these blogs only last a week or so if that, then very few people come back to them.

      “A law enforcement task force in New Mexico that is supposed to target drug-trafficking criminals is instead awash in charges that it is using its nearly $600,000 taxpayer-subsidized budget to fund its own corrupt practices.”
      http://www.narconews.com/ **Check out the link provided by The Gimlet Eye.**

      It’s time to enlighten yourselves. Prohibition engenders law enforcement and exacerbates crime.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Hmmmm………..I think the investigators need to be investigated. In fact, somebody needs to go through that ENTIRE police dept. and do some serious, unobstructed probing! So very many questions and no apparent answers! So very curious, this case. The defendants must feel emboldened, to say the least. Such a lenient ruling. And the authorities expect the people to obey the law after letting them off like this??????? Do civies get off like this??? This is remarkable!

    We have to start questioning the whole business of drug laws and what we want them to accomplish. There is a lot more to such cases than meets the eye. For more, check out this website of Judge Jim Gray:

    http://www.judgejimgray.com/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  4. lordhelpus says:

    This is unbelievable. Ritalin is a Schedule II controlled substance. Other drugs in that category include cocaine, oxycontin, percocet, opium, and methadone. Can you imagine you or I being caught in possession of 800 doses of cocaine or oxycontin? We would be prosecuted for drug trafficking hands down. It would be laughable that these guys get a misdemeanor clucking if it weren’t so blood-boilingly nauseating! I think there should be a massive uprising and call for the job of whoever “prosecuted” this case. It’s so obnoxiously, arrogantly out of line that it speaks volumes about the disconnect between them and us. Are we really gonna let him get away with this???

    It’s also pathetic that the Trib coverage has been so impotent. I think it’s time to put my Trib subscription out of it’s misery!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

    • cheseburger says:

      The tribune is on the side of those who line there pockets like Gearhart, and the rest of the frauds, like Griger Jones,,,,,don’t like that then why did you “the trib” take my words out of context, print them and call me and apologize, I’ll never TALK to them again,,,….
      I am behind you or beside you 100%,,,, this is a good idea,,,,,”I think there should be a massive uprising and call for the job of whoever “prosecuted” this case. It’s so obnoxiously, arrogantly out of line that it speaks volumes about the disconnect between them and us.”

      WE ALL SHOULD START CALLING, SOMEBODY GET THEIR NUMBER!!!!!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

      • cheseburger says:

        One more thing, word on the street, is, the cops are now bragging about how they pulled this off.
        $75,000 for smuggling class 2 narcotics, nice vacation bonus.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

      • Saveslocounty says:

        It was the US Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. Call Congresswoman Lois Capps to complain, she has local offices listed in the phone book.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

      • cacaCCN says:

        1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

        • cheseburger says:

          You are in the red, maybe rethink your opinion?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • cheseburger says:

          Wait a minute your not CCN. A respected news organization you are a troll you could be Gearhart or Jones, or even Courtney Barard, vice-president of the somewhat proven corrupt Hurst corp.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • cheseburger says:

          Simple,”WE ALL SHOULD START CALLING, SOMEBODY GET THEIR NUMBER!!!!!!!”

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • mkaney says:

          cacaCCN great point, only I’m baffled that you are missing the fact this is the responding judgement of the same measure, not the intitiating judgement.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • LogicallySpeaking says:

      I am a practicing physician with a vacation home on the central coast and spend a lot of time (When my schedule allows) enjoying the central coast. I have had nothing but exceptional contacts with SLOPD in the past 8 years. I have had two contacts with one of the named officers and one of them was for a traffic violation that I openly admit to committing. He was extremely professional and I had intended on sending a letter to the chief regarding his compassionate and courteous way of handling our contact (AFTER I spent $187 on a citation for which I deserved :-P). Most of my experience has been less than favorable with other agencies to say the least.

      I must say that I’m beside myself to observe this over zealous attack and judgment against these officers or ANYbody to be honest. From everything I’ve read, I openly acknowledge that the information is incomplete and not written objectively. That said, I understand that these news outlets need sensationalism in order to maintain readers. I just feel strongly that objective journalism is just as interesting and gives credit to the reading public as being intelligent enough not to judge upon incomplete information.

      When I read this story, I had so many curiosities based on simple logic. For starters when I saw that Ritalin was involved, my initial question was do either of these officers have a child or children? Because as we know based on the Federal raids on State SANCTIONED medicinal marijuana dispensaries…the Feds don’t care WHO you are, they are extreme in every regard. Federal laws are harshly enforced by separate standards. So when I saw that they plead to a misdemeanor over “Misbranding” I KNEW that this was a sensationalized story. I read it as a misdemeanor based on letter of the federal law books. Unless you’ve dealt with this process before, Most may not be aware that Ritalin is not generally covered by medical insurance and is a very expensive (Which is why insurers typically frown on coverage, because it is a maintenance drug that is taken continually)

      If I had a patient that went to Mexico on vacation and purchased Ritalin from a pharmacy even though I prescribe alternates or generics, It is quite feasible that my patient could be stopped and charged with a misdemeanor based on that fact. I’m fairly certain that if John Smith purchased Ritalin to sale or abuse, the Feds would not stop at a misdemeanor…they invented “Throw the book at ‘em”. Has anyone ever received a citation at a state park by a Federal park ranger? Whew, they are NOT forgiving.

      I’m at a loss for words that people are even discussing how much someone weighs in some of these posts. That’s just inappropriate regardless of who is being discussed. Also people are commonly using lines like “Word on the street” and “I overheard so and so saying”, the news is meant to inform the uninformed about current events. Those comments are just people stirring the pot to gather a mob mentality. If anyone is taking weight loss or obesity control medications, it’s not a concern to the public as I’m sure nobody would appreciate being judged about their weight or any other personal imperfections. “Just the facts ma’am” , Please reserve the insults for our state budget concerns or national debt growth.

      If anyone else had been stopped at the border and received a misdemeanor regarding a federal law violation, their employment would not be effected. These officers are being scrutinized because of their TYPE of employment. So those making statements like “I’d be fired already” are misinformed. If anyone has ever received a DUI, they most likely have realized that unless your job requires you to drive and a TERM of your misdemeanor obstructs your job duties – A suspended license in this case, Your job would most likely be completely unaffected. Bare in mind those who are concerned about the salary paid to these officers on administrative leave, its a process in which every facet of an investigation can be researched before making an informed decision. There is quite a bit of liability involved. What if a wrongful termination suit were to be filed because of a swift and incomplete personnel investigation. Is it better to pay $100k to insure you are making informed decisions, instead of paying $1.8mill in a lawsuit? Obviously expenditure is always a concern, but so is the understanding of why.

      I’m not liberating or condemning these officers, I am simply saying that an objective perspective would be a common decency to any of us that found ourselves in a complicated situation. Remember readers, there are dozens of legitimate reasons why things happen. The misdemeanor plea by the FED’s and some logical thinking might allow some objective folks to realize that if this was a big deal, there would not be much to investigate. If it was some small mistake…..you might want to spend some serious time scrutinizing every detail to ENSURE that it really was a small mistake and not a deeply hidden conspiracy. We do it with our children don’t we? Let’s do it for each other.

      And officer if you read this, I hope this incident was a simple mistake and nothing more….and FYI, I now pay attention to “No turn on red” signs more than I ever have ;-)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 16

      • pismo20 says:

        As a doctor you should know that if a child is on Ritalin it would be covered by their parents insurance. These officers make $150,000 a year, have great benifits and they have to smuggle drugs. Also, isn’t McDow’s son like 2. That is a lot of drugs for a little guy.

        The SLO police department sends out press releases about people they bust for pot or DUI. If they had arrested someone for smuggling 850 pills before they were found guilty it would have been sent to the press.

        They are not getting tougher treatment. They pled down to a misdemeanor. The original charges included dealing. They can call this a win.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

        • cheseburger says:

          Avila to Pismo good post if not “a” grade, nail on the head type of writing unlike the 200 some words that some one was instructed to write, I’m in your corner and “CASC” is on it’s way, nervous and jumpy cops is the last thing we need and even the real cops know that, and I think some how they will take care of the problem ,,,,, one bad apple provides fertilizer for the rest to grow, two even make them grow better! In closing the good cops shall prevail or I watched to many John Wayne Movies.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Saveslocounty says:

        Well doctor, the incomple information includes a “guilty plea” of a federal criminal offense. These are not teen agers experimenting with 850 pills. Without being judgemental, there are consequences for failing to comply with the law (rigid or not) especially in a position of public trust. Compare this to a doctor who pleads guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery. I can only pray that my children would not be examined by this minor offender. We should indeed practice tolerence but there are lines of conduct that should not be crossed.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  5. slojo says:

    They both need to be fired immediately and if they aren’t, Chief Deborah Linden needs to go.
    Anyone who believes Limon got the pills for his wife is a bigger idiot than Limon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 4

  6. HonestyPlanet says:

    Minors in possession of a beer get a stiffer sentence. Weekly. The problem is complex, but boils down to the fact that we’ve empowered law enforcement, through bonds, ridicuous programs like DARE, and politicians who mindlessly vote to raise wages (as the law enforcement unions feed their re-election funding) to the point where, instead of being law enforcers, they have become a modern day version of the SS, corrupted by their own powers and prestige. There is no logical reason why these two cops shouldn’t have been fired before the conviction, and certainly no similar reason why they should not now be eliminated from the force now. So if you disagree with my opinion, explain to me why things are the way they are right now. The simple fact is that it’s them against us. They have become a revenue generating machine in what is unfortunately becoming a police state. Is it really necessary to shoot traffic with radar guns to hand out speeding tickets? What inherent wrong is being served by a fix it ticket for a burned out headlight? Is society a better place when I pay the fine? If I’m not driving eratically, why should I be forced to proceed through a DUI check point?…..Crime hasn’t been reduced by our embracement of bigger and “better” police forces….read Freakonomics, there’s a solid explanation as to why crime has been reduced since the 1970’s and it isn’t because of all the funding we’ve poured into their coffers.
    One final rant. When we fire these two knuckleheads, let’s advertise to replace them at $45,000.00 per year, starting salary, and watch the line form outside city hall……and then rethink the entire compensation concepts that are going to put our fair city into Chapter 9.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6

  7. Nancy says:

    Your all going to love this one. Here is the latest. Limon is claiming that he purchased all of the speed, including the Ritalin for his wife who is obese! I wonder if he is just intellectually bankrupt or believes that the rest of are? These drugs are available in the US with a prescription and require the supervision of a physician. There are doctors who specialize in weight loss and they aren’t difficult to locate. If a person is healthy, follows her doctors advice and can benefit from these drugs, they can legally obtain them safely, efficiently and most of all legally. I have to wonder what kind of a loving husband would cross a boarder and break the law to the extent that these two guy’s did to provide the mother of his 3 or 4 children with a 30 MONTH supply of a dangerous narcotic that she obvious can’t obtain through conventional means. Block Head’s should not be on our police force. Block Heads can not be expected to process information and act accordingly. Limon is a Block Head regardless of if he is telling the truth or not. It’s a lose/lose as in Block Head/ Block Head.
    BTW, These drugs are all inexpensive prescriptions to fill and our LEO have the best family medical insurance that money can buy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

    • iagree101 says:

      Nancy…yes Limon’s wife is obese…I think she weighs about 350 pounds…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

      • PaulJones says:

        350 LBS ! WOW, I’d cross the boarder to get her some speed to. Unfortunately the US physicians don’t feel that these drugs are in her best interest. It could be for any number of reasons, all of which may not be within her ability to remedy. These drugs have obviously been determined as unhealthy for her and most likely concurred by many knowledgeable doctors. It’s incredible to me when I consider that a peace officer would resort to the actions that Limon did, friggin incredible. Limon earns/earned an excellent salary, send her to the fat farm or for lypo or I’m certain there are other alternatives apart from smuggling Class 2 & 4 narcotics. Lot’s of narcotics.
        So what was McDows excuse?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

    • cacaCCN says:

      this site is full of people that have nothing better to do!!! Everyone is so upset why are these two still on paid leave…because they have rights!!! Like every citizen of the United States!!! Just remember people once they are out of a job…they will be taking up more of your tax money!! lol!! Because having no job..means lots of government help for them and their families. So funny…so continue and cry how they are still on paid leave. You people have no common sense!! Plus you people think they are on vacation relaxing…having a lax life..get a clue. How would you guys feel if your name was all over the media. They are human and have families and children. You people have no hearts. I bet every single person on this comment crap…has had their run in with law enforcement and feel they need to vent and bash people..you don’t know on a personal level and no I don’t know them in a personal level,but it makes me sick how people are always the first to judge people they don’t even know. If you people feel that they are getting over paid..then you guys try to become Police Officers!!! I bet half of you would not even make. Having to put their lives on the line everyday when they are at work…not knowing if they will go home to their families. Let’s see how many of you are brave enough to do such a job. I don’t think many could do it. So go ahead bash my comment because that’s what you people love to do!!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

    • cacaCCN says:

      Nancy, have you seen Limon’s wife?? If your going to talk about Limon that fine,but to bring up his wife? When she has no reason to be dragged in this mess. Or even better why don’t you start talking about the children??? So sad…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • cheseburger says:

        caca, the speeding cop brought his fat wife into it as an excuse for smuggling, remember to read the entire thread caca, what is caca, what I think it is, it smells you should change it, it’s an opinion all by it’s self. If you don’t like reading other people’s opinions read the trib.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  8. cheseburger says:

    Well call me lazy but this guy Booty Juice from a previous article seems to be a physic, he says it best before they even copped out!
    “””Bent Coppers. Dirty, crooked cops.

    Nothing new here. Same old song and dance that’s been playing since forever.

    Getting caught with their hands in the evidence bin, child molesting, downloading kiddie porn, wife beating, dog bothering oop nort, and let’s not forget the ubiquitous, all pervasive “professional courtesy”. Any cop who has ever shown his badge upon getting pulled over for a traffic stop is bent. Any who have given their “business card” to their wives and kids for them to use as a free pass is crooked. Any who waive citations for their own are dirty. Any who defend the practice are corrupt. They believe themselves to be above the law because in fact they are. When you know for a fact that so-called law enforcement officers will not apply the laws to you which they hold all others accountable for, behaviors will change. Hence, bent cops. And they wonder why they are held in such low esteem by law abiding, tax paying citizens.

    Gone are the days when the police concentrated on keeping the peace and arresting people who posed a danger to the community, you the law abiding tax payer. Now they are little more then heavily armed, overly paid tax collectors who have no interest in deterring or solving criminal activity unless it involves net revenue for the treasury.

    Protecting themselves and their own from the likes of “civilians” is the predominant concern, always and above all other matters. Idle, bloated, badge heavy, bunker mentality Barneys who at the slightest whiff of being exposed as bent take “early retirement”.

    Same as it ever was. Nothing to see here people, move along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

    • zaphod says:

      Police officers in Columbia, Missouri shoot two dogs during a search raid SWAT Overkill much?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • Cindy says:

      Booty does bring it home at times and I can relate to what he is saying in part. On the other hand , cops are humans too and are subject to all the temptations and vices that afflict the human condition.
      Case Point, If I was a cop and my dear old Mon or Dad rolled through a stop sign or passed by me doing 47 in a 35 MPH zone, I would not be able to give them a ticket. I really would feel terrible about doing that to them rather than just remind them of the speed limit. How about any of you?
      Would you give your Dear old Mom or Dad a ticket?
      How about your best friend?
      How about your next door neighbor?
      How about your Minister or the church organist?
      How about your doctor or your dentist or even your animal vet?
      How about your co-worker?
      How are your favorite bar tender?
      HOW ABOUT YOUR DRUG DEALER? (pun intended, couldn’t pass it up)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • zaphod says:

        How about my BUD-TENDER ! ?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

      • cheseburger says:

        Cindy my dad drives like a maniac, has taken out the Osos st. guard rail in slo, has flashed his CMC card when pulled over many times, likes to tailgate and speed, also he recently passed a sheriff doing 87 mph on 101 near El Capitan state park with me in the car after refusing to let me drive, he is eighty-four years young and I love him dearly, the sheriff must of thought him, or knew he was one of his own, because he just looked at me puzzled while we went right on by.
        My mother who was petrified by my father’s driving, I would not write up, but dear old dad would get written up, even by his loving surviving son. Slow down and live long dad!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

        • Cindy says:

          cheese, Are you serious, your dad passed the Sheriff on the 101 doing 87 and he didn’t even pull your dad over and tell him to slow down? That’s mind boggling and hard to even believe. It’s one thing to give “one of your own” a break and it’s another thing to allow them to endanger the public. I know cops let each other slide because they all consider themselves “professional drivers” who can manage speed but I didn’t think they thought CMC guards fell under that category!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • cheseburger says:

            Cindy he’s a retired teach from CMC, and nope the sheriff might of figured he’d leave it to the Highway patrol, we were the only cars on the road, I thought he would pull him over and it made me nervous as all hell, I want to say something else, TO ALL THE GOOD COPS OUT THERE;

            WE DO APPRECIATE YOUR WORK, PLEASE HELP US WEED OUT THE BAD ONES, YOU WOULD BE BEST SUITED FOR THE JOB!!!!!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • BACON says:

            AND THERE IT IS…….THE TRUTH!!! i understand…..BUT!!!! YOU & YOUR FAMILY are not ABOVE the law!! TRY HARDER!! CAUSE THATS YOUR JOB!!!!!
            JUST F#CKIN DO IT!… & if you dont!!! well then yell at your folks! cause right & wrong dont apply 2 u & yours!!! CAUS U GOT A BADGE!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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