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.


Loading...
Saveslocounty

The safety of the public far outweighs the individual rights of a police officer relating to random drug testing. Bus drivers, light rail train operators, pilots and many others can be required to submit to random drug testing and they don’t carry firearms. Submitting to a urine sample is one of the most non-invassive ways to instill public confidence and actually help the officers that do have a problem with addiction. The alternative is a simple snip of hair that identifies many drugs months after use but won’t identify alcohol abuse. Linden and Soloman have lost touch with the communities they serve and could quickly impose a random drug policy. Their refusal to act on the behalf of the citizens to prove the worthiness of their staff speaks volumes.


As mentioned, other police agencies have imposed random drug testing to identify employees with problems and to eliminate the suspicion that has resulted from the actions of McDow and Limon. If I was an officer, my first cup of coffee would have about run its course by the time briefing was over and would be glad to fill a cup with it. That simple act would go a long well to instilling the public trust. Besides, my bet is that 95% of the cops have nothing to be detected other than caffine.


JordanJ

The article that was referenced here in the New Times about local drug testing of law enforcement is excellent. “Though they carry weapons and have the power of life and death in many situations, none of the police officers or sheriff’s deputies in San Luis Obispo County get routinely screened.


“Only after what police authorities term a “major incident” such as a shooting or squad-car accident are officers screened for drugs.” I would say that smuggling a load of illegal dope across the boarder is a “major incident”. Were McDow and Limon drug tested after this occurrence? Those types of drugs remain in a persons blood system for a few days. Linden should have tested them immediately and there is not excuse why she didn’t. Now it seems to me that if she did and they were clean she would have made it a point to include that in a press release. We haven’t heard a single word about whether these guys were clean or not. Considering the the record time that they made it down to Mexico (after having completed their shifts), crossed the boarder, purchased the drugs and crossed the boarder to return home, all without sleep, I suspect that they were their own best customers rather than endurance masters.


“Random drug screening is unlikely to come to San Luis Obispo County anytime soon, according to the police officials New Times interviewed for this article. All of the officials said drugs are not a problem within their departments” WHERE IS THE DRUG SCREEN RESULTS, Linden?


cheseburger

Hey should be sitting in a Mexican jail for ten years.,,,”Dan McDow and Armando Limon, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors in exchange for no jail time and a year of unsupervised probation.”

JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, JOKE, AND I SUPPOSE THEY GET TO KEEP THEIR JOBS?

Nice plea bargain to protect their own, backs up my previous post!


quickpick

Accountability starts at the top of an organization. Chief Linden lowered the standard of accountability when she promoted the last two Captains that hold High School diplomas. So it’s not surprising that the officers in the SLOPD can lower their level of accountability and feel it’s okay to bring drugs over the boarder from Mexico. One of the most important issues of leadership is to lead by example. So the officers were only doing what they felt was right. Now, we have a Captain in the SLOPD that wants to be our next Sheriff. Who was his example of leadership? Keep this in mind come June 8th.


Cindy

Here is what Chief Linden thinks about drug testing her LEO.

” it would be difficult to have a policy in this county for random drug testing. She said there are privacy concerns for the officers and any policy of random tests would have to be negotiated”


Here is what Strobridge thinks,

““Simply because someone becomes a police officer doesn’t mean they have to give up their constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure,”


Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon said “there is no testing for her department, but her department has a strict policy against drugs and alcohol:”


The Los Angeles Police Department tests officers on a regular basis, a policy that outgoing Chief William Bratton said is a vital step to ensuring the public trust. Boston police began testing in 1999 and the city was shocked to discover more than 75 officers tested positive for drugs, mostly cocaine, during the first six years of testing.


http://www.newtimesslo.com/news/3510/no-random-drug-testing-for-cops/


cheseburger

Cindy so it turns out these two public servants were/are speed freaks, there are literally millions of shooting deaths related to cocaine and speed within the general population, throw in some spun lewi, speed freak cops and you have one hell of a recipe for using that old throw down gun that Soloman dropped. Speed is given to our military before a mission, does the chief hand it out to his boys like our captains in the military. This may shock some of you, but, they just might have been making the usual run for the whole department. Check out there other recent trips to Mexico and/or other officers, we now live in a country where the common man’s rights are thrown to the wind and the cops just like in the Steven Seagal movie “exit wound”, continue to be above the law! And to get paid for being drug smugglers,”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.” This is wrong and they should pay back every cent, guilty is as guilty does, they new they were guilty and took the payed leave anyway,,, that’s another charge of fraud,,,,, oh yeah that’s legal here on the central coast,,,, right Shea?


PaulJones

“Simply because someone becomes a police officer doesn’t mean they have to give up their constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure,” Leave it to Strobridge.

These guys are carrying guns and think that they should not have to be drug tested because it is against their constitutional rights. We “randomly” test students who want to participate in sports, all bus drivers in San Luis are randomly tested, Fire Fighters, ambulance, limousine and taxi drivers are all tested but the cops think it is a violation of their “constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure”. Has anyone ever seen the police advocating for the public’s “constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure? You bet you haven’t. I suggest that Linden starts negotiating and Lisa gets in line because while she claims, “there is no testing for her department, but her department has a strict policy against drugs and alcohol”, I’m sure you will find those same policies where in effect at the SLO PD during September 2009.

BRING ON THE RANDOM DRUG TESTING. Law enforcement hopped up on drugs vs the term peace officer is an oxymoron. These drugs cause over reactive responses , aggression, unreasonable suspicion and when that is combined with the powers and weapons afforded a police officer they become outright dangerous to the public and themselves.


cheseburger

PJ, writes and is absolutely correct, “These drugs cause over reactive responses , aggression, unreasonable suspicion and when that is combined with the powers and weapons afforded a police officer they become outright dangerous to the public and themselves.”

Better test them every 72 hours, cops know how to beat a drug screen better then the best of the druggies, that’s what they trained for at the police academy, oh they were also taught integrity and honesty or in this case maybe they got trained backwards, from the response we have seen from Linden toward these two frauds, maybe she has her own special training for her own needs, drug test her and everybody else that works in L.E.O. No one goes untested!!!!!!!!!!

If you can find Hedges drug test him and his $780,000 partner, start at the top and work down. 75% dirty includes a lot of higher ups, and I bet you cringe when (if your a dirty cop or chief), you read this, wishes sometimes come true. The Coalition against speeding cops is coming to get you, what you gonna do, when they come for you. C.A.S.C.


PaulJones

“The Coalition against speeding cops is coming to get you, what you gonna do, when they come for you. C.A.S.C.”

This is a crack up :)


cheseburger

Thanks, but it’s really no joke we need to be able to contact individual officers or other personnel and have a trained person drug test them on the spot, if he thinks there under the influence of anything but coffee! Hey speeding cops,”what you gonna do, when we, come for you. C.A.S.C.” Let’s get this party started everybody!


mkaney

I concur PaulJones on everything he said. And I think that cheseburger brings up a point that may explain WHY they were on paid leave and only got a slap on the wrist…perhaps they were just making the regular department run for the border.


The only problem with drug testing is that these particular drugs only stay in the system for a short period of time, generally a couple days. It is likely they will work out a system which gives them ample warning before they are tested, if it is done within the department.


PaulJones

I agree that if the drug testing is conducted by the department that the LEO will all receive a heads up and have time to clean up before they test. The way around this is to use hair for the first test. Drugs can be identified and a clear determination can be made as to how often and how much of an identified illegal substance is consumed. Once we are aware of what/who the problems are, we can deal with it on an individual basis. I wouldn’t object to using the initial hair screening only as a means of identifying problems rather than discipline as the objective (for the first screening everyone gets one chance) although some might be sent to rehab programs and then tested regularly. We have to start setting the rules and foisting it down every elected officials throats until they start to conduct themselves responsibly and start SERVING. Any servant that doesn’t like it can quit or be voted out, which ever is applicable.


mkaney

I will be attending the City Council meeting on Thursday with several others to demand that these officers be fired immediately and that an investigation be opened by an outside agency into other possible corruption and drug use by members of the San Luis Obispo Police Department. If you have knowledge of other specific incidents or information that may help in pushing this forward, please contact me at mkaney@gmail.com


mkaney

correction: Tuesday night… I will leave an update on Tuesday for anyone else interested as I will be in Goleta for part of the week and I may have postpone it until the following meeting. But my intention is strike while the iron is hot.


mkaney

This story plays out like a great novel…there are so many layers of complexity and issues beyond the surface, with justice being the loser in the story.


The police have spent many years and enormous amounts of money taking some real-life tragedies in which meth was involved or involved by association, and creating a fiendish caricature of such supervillian proportions. This caricature haunts the public consciousness and the populace is deathy frightened of a meth epidemic and its army of crazed tweakers. .Just like the stoner caricature, of course, the reality in America is very different. The truth is that tens of millions of “ordinary” people spend billions upon billions of dollars every year for speed. Some of it is black-market, where a certain percentage (but not all) of the product is poorly made adulterated chemical soup. But most of the sales are (technically) legal. The actual differences between street methamphetamine (at least that which is made in superlabs) and ritalin, adderal, modafinil, dexdredrine, concerta and others is subtle at best. The legal stuff is often not any “cleaner and softer” than the illegal stuff, depending on dosage and who is taking it (their brain chemistry, other prescriptions, etc..)


If you are advantaged you can get a physician who will just give you what you want. The average person will attempt to manipulate the healthcare system and obtain a diagnosis of ADHD or Narcolepsy. For some this is not intentional. Many young children are given these drugs and even if they do not truly have the disease, the reward centers of their brain will ensure that for the rest of their lives they will unconsciously play the role that is expected of them to get the proverbial cheese. Another route people take, obviously, is smuggling. And of course the black market stocks all varieties of speed, including “crank” and the dreaded Ice (aka Glass)

So, you may not think you know any “tweakers” or “meth heads” but chances are good that you actually know *many*. Different people experience different results, and much of the hard core street-meth tragedy is due to consequences of the users operating outside of the law and the structure of the health care farce, not because it is has substantially different effects (at similar doses) from the legal varieties.


When you put this story into this context, it makes their crimes so much more dramatically heinous and sinister that is ought to disturb you. First, here are people that believe, promote, and perpetuate the idea of the tweaker character and use it to qualify seizing property, breaking up families, shooting uncooperative suspects, etc.. etc.. (when I say that, I am referring to situations in which the primary crimes are drug-related, obviously it would not be fair to characterize all law enforcement action in that way or as somehow sinister). Yet, these same officers who participate in that, are also users of similar drugs. This makes all actions which these guys participated in which lives were uprooted, people incarcerated, property seized, and/or families broken up, and in which all charges were drug-related, incredibly hypocritical and morally reprehensible acts. How can you send someone to prison, take everything from them, and turn their life into a living hell for doing essentially the same thing you are doing?


And then on top of that, whereas the people these cops busted most likely lost their jobs immediately, and many times their freedom, and anything they owned, these digusting little nazis cashed out to the tune of $150k, are still being defended by other cops, still probably have self-righteous attitudes, and for all we know at this point, may not lose their jobs. So the essential injustice here will without abatement. That should make people a lot angrier than the surface level hypocricy of cops smuggling prescription drugs across the border. But it hope this also makes people think about how things are perceived in society, and how these perceptions are manipulated and capitalized upon by various groups. The government, in all its forms, is the primary vendor and promoter of this sort of manipulation and misinformation. It has been throughout history. In fact, the very arguments people will make to explain the necessity of some form of government are usually rooted in perceptions of reality which are distorted in ways similar to this. As a result, most of the dialog about what problems we have and how to solve them has become ineffectual meaningless babble where we cannot fix the problems, because we cannot even see them for what they are anymore.


mkaney

I almost forgot one of the most important things I wanted to say….given the particular pills we’re talking about, and the quantity… it’s quite likely that they were ‘shopping’ on behalf of some of their friends, as well. When I say that tens of millions of “everyday” people are on this stuff, I’m not exagerrating. This kind of thing is common, but the procurement and distribution generally takes place within tight circles.


so I’m gonna put my neck out on the line here, and suggest that it’s likely that there are quite a few other members of our police force that use these drugs, most of them probably on a very occasional basis, but maybe not. Absent the issues I talked about in the post, it wouldnt particularly bother me.. but we’re not absent those issues, so I would like to see this pursued further.


Cindy

I was reading the plea agreement these two officers signed and it just floored me. They each received a year probation and a $25.00 fine, that’s it ! That is unheard of for smuggling over 800 capsules of schedule 11 and 1V drugs into this country. Anyone else would have had their vehicle confiscated and worse, then they search your home and business, depending on what they find, they just might take your home or the boat and classic car that you have in your garage and that’s just beginning. I just have one question, does this ruling/ plea deal set a precedent? If a person who as never been charged with a crime does the same thing, can they expect the same deal?

Someone mentioned that these two LEO didn’t get off easy because they are still facing disciplinary action at work. I don’t want to hear that crap, when a DUI UPS driver, bus driver, airline pilot, etc lose their job’s because of their poor judgment, the judge doesn’t give them a special deal.


Compare the difference between smuggling large quantities of dangerous drugs to the person who consumes 1 OZ of alcohol too much and drives at a .085 BAC. That mistake will cost a $1700+. fine and 3 months of DUI classes that probably cost another $1000. They will also have their drivers license suspended for a few months and be required to purchase a special DMV mandated insurance for three years (this is so that they can’t insure their car under their spouses name and avoid the big rate increase). You will also have to perform community service. You will not be allowed to drive to your community service or to court. During their mandatory 3 years probation they can not have any alcohol at all in their system when they drive. Doing so is grounds to be put in jail and have your license suspended for a year and the police don’t need probable cause to test you. That is the minimum grief someone can expect that is considered mildly impaired if they are a first time offender with a good driving record. One beer and a prozac can get you into the same trouble, the police will consider you impaired. That’s why they always ask if you are on any medication, if you say yes, you better not say yes to the next question. It cost my cousin 10K to fight that charge and he surely wasn’t impaired at a .05 BAC and a regular daily dose of 30mg of prozac.


How can anyone think a year probation and a $25.00 fine fits their crime?? 800 tabs of 3 kinds of speed is called possession and distribution of narcotics. College kids love speed and they are some of the biggest consumers. Speed is a very addictive and dangerous drug and many use it to study (cram) while others use it for recreational purposes. Look at the kid that was messed up on cocaine and alcohol who walked out into the middle of the101 last month. Speed allows people to consume very large quantities of alcohol without feeling sick at the time. They can literally continue functioning when they should be passed out in a gutter drunk and incoherent. MKaney is right in everything he said. This is really sick.


mkaney

That is RIDICULOUS Cindy!!!! I am so pissed now I can hardly contain myself. A couple years ago, I had a run of speeding tickets (nothing else, just speeding) that resulted in a license suspension… I was pulled over for that and by the time it was all over I had to spend 10 days in jail, and least $3000 between the fines and the cost of getting my car back, which they held for 30 days. And it was a first time offense, I had a 100% clean record before that.


And these guys get a $25 dollar fine and a year probation, “oh hellll nooo.” lol


It’s all about the plea though. This plea bargain thing has corrupted our court systems very badly. If you’re not guilty, and they have no evidence, but don’t like you, they simply threaten you with years of imprisonment to frighten you into accepting a plea. If you’re guilty, and they have proof, and they like you it turns the other way around, where you’re given the plea as a gift.


So this goes further than the police force. This calls into question the integrity of whoever was responsible for the prosecution. Was it our local district attorney? Do you have a link to where this plea agreement can be found??


cheseburger

Cindy right on! To a normal drug troll, 800 tabs equals 800 felony charges, somebody dropped two tiny pills in a mans car with a history of growing pot, he was charged with two felonies and wasn’t even on the crap, for two pills, anybody else see a double standard.


ActuallyEducated

mkaney, sounds to me like you have problems and disbelief in police in general. Maybe at your meeting you can just ask if you can stop paying officers salary and in return when it comes to needing protection or what not, just take care of it yourself. You seem to have pretty good faith in yourself. Sounds like a pretty good trade.


moderator

Note: “Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the

issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.”


mkaney

Sounds like you’re a police officer.


However, I find your offer acceptable.

Until we work out the reimbursement for my portion of their salary though, I expect that you will be professional and courteous. And I will continue to pursue this matter. For my part, I will not solicit the police officers for any assistance except to do the necessary legal paperwork/investigation after I “take care of it myself.” I also promise not to break any laws which adversely effect any other person or infringe upon their life, liberty, or pursuit of self-happiness. I also expect that this will work both ways, and that I will not be harassed, targeted, slandered, set up, or victimized by any police officers or their representatives.


See, I’m totally reasonable.


cheseburger

Mcaney, your good but we all slip, this could be concreted as a threat and you could be their next target, easy man, get a hold on your pencil,,,,,don’t want to end up a target, I’ve seen cops be good and I’ve seen them be bad, they are human as we are also. Great posts though edit a little more and I might get all the way through one.


R.Hodin

You forgot to add in the city police, city attorney, FBI, & ICE staff time their cute little escapade cost us.


Saveslocounty

Chief Linden withheld the fact of the convictions from last Wednesday until Karen broke the story on Monday. Why the cover up Chief? Why aren’t you being responsive to the needs of the community? Are you fretting over what to do next? I can help but it isn’t very warm and fuzzy: FIRE THEM, THEY ARE CRIMINALS.


Don’t forget about the Chitty mess and his bankruptcy even though he is married to your Paso Chief friend. I’ll help you there as well: FIRE HIM, HE IS A CRIMINAL.


Perhaps if you spent more time in San Luis Obispo than Sacramento you woul be able to actualy run the department rather than having Parkinson do it for you. It is clear that you have forgotten the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and lack the leadership skills needed to administer a small police department. The officers and the support staff deserve much better especially during a difficult situation such as this.


There is no reason to attempt to hide the information about the conviction of these two men. If the previous info was accurate about you ordering McDow to stay away from the elderly woman who he alledgedly was misappropriating funds, then this current event lands squarely on your lap. Your failure to properly act in that situation allowed this latest scandle. Some old saying about past behavior predicts future performance. The signs of corruption were staring you in the face yet you chose to ignore them, were simply blinded to the impact or too weak to take appropriate action.


When this story first broke, I was sick to my stomach that two of our police officers have betrayed us. Then I couldn’t shake the thought of how this could have been avoided. That drew me to the conclustion that it could have with sound management practices and leadership with an ethical core. Sorry Chief, you have disappointed the community as much as McDow and Limon. It is time for the City Council to review her contract and restore the police department to one of pride and service. Note to existing professional staff: Hang in there, this will pass, but it won’t be anytime soon.


cacaCCN

Matthew 7:1-5

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


cheseburger

Religion, caca, judge me all you want, they plead guilty they are going to hell, in this county and hell is on earth, hell is where you hang your head, they should of been convicted of 850 felonies, oh they are cops and got no special treatment just $75,000, this will not detour others, it will let them know how to get a paid vacation.


MarkJames

So it turns out that what they had was speed. Methylphenidate and Diethylpropion plus some other stuff. Not quite methamphetamine which is a very dirty unsafe drug but what they had is more of a clean and softer pharmaceutical version. These drugs are very addictive and the later is used for weight loss and is “speed”. The Methylphenidate is actually very similar to ritalin but what many people don’t know is that it has the opposite effect on adults and also acts like speed. Of course you can all look this up for yourselves. All I can say is that the last thing any of us need is cops amped up on speed. It’s very dangerous for all involved. Dealing with their natural adrenaline rushes is dangerous enough, and thank you very much.


BeenThereDoneThat

Excuse me in typing this I can hardly see my computer screen. It has brains all over it where my head EXPLODED from the shear RAGE I had in reading this bulls**t of these two getting a slap on the wrist.


Yes add me to the list of others like Cindy etal, that were beat upon by these two cronies friends about how wonderful they were and all of us here blogging were mean spirted a–holes. Well cronies we are still here. Where are you??


Reminds me of the other situation with the charity in SLO with ties to Sri Lanka (if memory serves) same as here. They were quite vocal till their guy was caught with his fingers in the cookie jar and then SILENCE.


CCN you got them again and silenced the stupid minority.


hotdog

Right on again Been There, I am beyond words at this outrage.

I just hope Linden, all the sheriff candidates and supes are reading these blogs. Especially Linden, she owes us an explanation for this travesty. Linden is the SLO cop chief.

One thing that transcends all these scandals uncovered by CCN is the outrageous amount of time the authorities take in their little investigations. The supes with their two top administrators (paid leave while consultants fiddle with the facts), The feds and who knows who else taking over 7 months to figure out if these cops smuggled drugs or not, while they were on paid leave. On and on with police chiefs, highway patrol captains found drunk in patrol cars along the road, teachers, principals and on and on. I am appalled by the seemingly incompetence during the investigations and astounding sums of money thrown down rat holes while doing it. The pay offs, the buy offs-we are the ones paying for it. And in the end the crooks, slobs, fools and so on take a walk, often with a fat pay off.


And where are we with pursuing our other real criminals-the money barons of north county; Gearhead, Miller (and his thieving daughter Courtney Brard)? Why, they are having martinis on us, after robbing us blind- and our worthless DA cowers in his office downtown, doing nothing. Fine example of justice for our young to look up to.


BeenThereDoneThat

Hotdog. I started laughing when I got to your part of your post that starts with, “The pay offs”. My first thought was that you were going to quote the line from Glenn Frey’s ’80’s song, “Smuggler’s Blues”, quote from song……. “The payoffs and the ripoffs and the things that nobody saw”.


Guess that is what these two clones were hoping for.