Two Ohio police officers have been hit with federal drug charges related to the theft and and sale of cocaine.
Columbus police officers John Castillo, 31, and Joel Mefford, 34, were arrested Thursday after an investigation found that both men stole cocaine while on the job, according to the Justice Department.
During a February 2020 investigation of a drug crime, Mefford “unlawfully gained access” to a person’s garage and found 2 kilograms of cocaine, according to his indictment. Mefford allegedly stole 1 kilogram of the drug and left the rest for police to find later with a search warrant.
Mefford is accused in a similar incident in March 2020, allegedly stealing cocaine found at a home during an investigation.
“It is further alleged that Mefford stole 20 kilograms of cocaine from the Columbus police property room in April 2020, replacing it with fake cocaine,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Along with federal drug charges, Mefford is also charged with money laundering after allegedly depositing $72,000 in cash from cocaine sales into his bank account.
In a separate indictment, Castillo is accused of taking 10 kilograms of cocaine from a home in February 2021 and never turning it in as evidence. He’s accused of planting 2 kilograms of the drug in the home for police to later discover.
Both men have been charged with possessing with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Mefford is also charged with two counts of possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
If convicted of possessing with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of the drug, the men could face 10 years to life in prison.