What do these three things have in common? Well, add in a few citizens of Blair County and apparently you have a recipe for disaster.
The latest operation by Altoona Police Department to fight the drug war, Operation Our Town, saw two officers allegedly convince a young man to buy meth for them off the “dark web” to “see how much they could get,” eventually ordering more than two kilos and spending over $20,000.
So is it entrapment if an officer reaches out to a young man and asks him for a kilo of meth? That young man, not having a connection for that amount (or possibly any amount) then, through various channels, eventually ends up on the dark web ordering drugs for the police officers. Specifically, Agent Brandt and Sgt. Moser. He has no other customers and they provide the money for the purchase. (Of course he does not realize they are officers of the law.)
Not only did the drugs not originate in “our town” but they only CAME to the county because the police officers allegedly badgered this young man to buy. The police provided over $20,000 in seed money for this young man to buy the drugs – he did not have the resources to engage in this venture. And according to some sources, he didn’t even have the knowledge or the wherewithal. He’s an odd choice for officers to approach. And yet, through networking and help, he ends up on the dark web and orders the amount requested by the officers.
Overall, it’s a story that plays out like a movie script. Complete with unethical cops, hapless wanna-be kingpins and attorneys that don’t seem to care about anything but conviction stats. All at the behest of these two officers who probably came up with the idea while drinking in some musty dark bar, toasting each other as the plan gets more and more grandiose.
I highly recommend reading the letter from defendant David Barr via the Allegheny Furnace Gazette. He details his travails better than I ever could. It’s fascinating insider insight on a case that seems to get stranger and stranger the more I learn. And I can’t help but wonder, after the police spent $20,000 on drugs plus personal expenses for stakeouts and more, did they get a promotion for arresting two people for meth in Blair County? Or are they being held accountable for the loss in costs that is inevitably passed on to the taxpayer?
I, for one, would not choose to have my taxes spent on this kind of case or in this way. So I’ll just leave this here for anyone in Centre County – if you’re a police officer with access to funds my taxes provide, please don’t spend them on entrapping a kid to buy drugs off the dark web. Fair enough?
And if the funds didn’t originate from taxes, where did they come from?