According to reports, the officer who arrested Pena worked for cocaine traffickers, and Pena served as his unknowing patsy the officer used to steal drugs from competitor traffickers for his own profit.
Pena said the policeman offered him $500 dollars to run an “errand,” according to techdirt.com; when he showed up, police took his car away, returning it sometime later with a black box tracking device installed.
Police then allegedly told Pena to drive his car somewhere else and leave it there, with the keys in the ignition.
During the investigation, turns out, the black box the officers allegedly installed, in an attempt to stage evidence, Pena maintains, held several kilograms of drywall, dusted with cocaine.
According to court documents Marcos Carrion, one of the officers arresting Pena after pulling him over for an outstanding warrant with the drugs in his car, stole the cocaine.
He reportedly later replaced the contents of the box with roughly 90 percent sheetrock dust, topped with a sprinkling of cocaine, knowing the police department wouldn’t test the powder for purity.
In this way, investigators say, Carrion repeatedly stole drugs from traffickers while letting them believe their product to be in police custody and, therefore, lost.
An excerpt from the decision in Pena’s case read as follows:
When a shipment was identified, Carrion and his cohorts replaced the trafficker’s cocaine with sheetrock and trace amounts of cocaine sprinkled on top. Carrion would then seize the “fake” drugs once they reached their destination (usually a courier), knowing that the replaced sheetrock with the sprinkling of cocaine would field-test positive and that it would not be tested for purity. By doing this, Carrion was able to steal narcotics from the traffickers he was working for, and because the traffickers believed that their drugs were in the possession of the State they never learned that the drugs had been stolen.
Martin Pena ultaimtely lost his appeal case and currently stands convicted of trafficking cocaine.
Per its text, Texas state law uses the weight of an illegal substance transported, not the purity or grade of quality, to determine sentencing.
Another excerpt from the court documents provided the following:
Although Pena, in a sense, was carrying the “wrong” cocaine because of Carrion’s drug-swapping actions; his conviction is based on the substance seized from his vehicle, not the cocaine he never possessed. And, as a matter of state law, the substance he possessed is cocaine. In Texas, a controlled substance includes the substance and any adulterants and dilutants.
The court opinion further explained, while it didn’t agree with Officer Carrion’s conduct, it shouldn’t affect the ruling against Pena.
Despite the relatively low amount of allegedly staged cocaine for dealers found to be in Pena’s possession – around a gram – his 15-year sentence is being upheld.