NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A veteran agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in New Orleans has been indicted on charges he engaged in a scheme to steal money and property seized in drug investigations and perjured himself in court.
The federal indictment unsealed Monday also accuses the agent, Chad Allen Scott, of accepting an illegal "gratuity" worth at least $10,000 for recommending that prosecutors seek a reduced sentence for a criminal defendant.
The Advocate reports Scott was arrested late Sunday and pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance Monday. He was jailed without bond and is due back in court Tuesday for a detention hearing.
Rodney Gemar, a Hammond police officer who had been assigned to the DEA task force that Scott led for years, also is charged with conspiracy in the 13-count indictment. Gemar was jailed Sunday in Plaquemines Parish after turning himself in to authorities.
The charges stem from a Justice Department investigation that already has led to guilty pleas by other task force members. The department has thrown out or reduced charges in several cases involving the task force.
An attorney for Scott, a DEA agent for 17 years, said his client would be "fully vindicated of any wrongdoing."
"Special Agent Scott is a dedicated and award-winning law enforcement professional who has given his entire adult life to combating crime," Scott's lawyer, Matthew Coman, said in a statement. "For those heroic efforts, Special Agent Scott now faces the prospect of losing his career and freedom as a result of baseless allegations."
The two task force members who pleaded guilty, Johnny Domingue and Karl E. Newman, both worked as sheriff's deputies in Tangipahoa Parish at the time of their arrests.
Gemar's attorney, Bradley Egenberg, said the indictment "relies on the testimony of two filthy — not just dirty, I mean utterly filthy — ex-cops."
"Karl Newman and Johnny Domingue now sing at the top of their lungs for a reduction in their own sentence, to save their own skin," Egenberg told The Advocate.