11/8/2007Texas: Police Seize Cars for Personal Profit
FBI investigates conflict of interest as Corpus Christi, Texas police officers get sweetheart deals on seized automobiles.
Federal investigators believe that high-ranking police officers in Corpus Christi, Texas may have abused their positions by improperly acquiring vehicles for personal use at police impound lot auctions. Last Friday, Corpus Christi Police fired Marty Jasso, 42, a twenty-two-year veteran officer serving in the Criminal Investigation Division. On Tuesday, a police captain and lieutenant were also placed on paid leave.
Representatives for Jasso suggest that he had been terminated to protect individuals higher up the ladder, including Assistant Police Chief Ken Bung. The representatives believe that Bung attempted to manipulate the auction price of a tractor that had been grabbed from a local business so that the department could keep it.
"There's a statement on record that says this, gives a direct order to a civilian employee at the police impound lot to Marty Jasso, and the police lieutenant told him that's a illegal order, just release it," police union president Domingo Ibarra told KRIS-TV in an interview.
Jasso and many of the top police officers bought vehicles from the auction. Unlike members of the public, however, the officers had access to the vehicles beforehand and could perform careful inspections and test drives. Jasso says that he did not do anything that he did not see his own superiors doing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has handed over the case to the US Department of Justice.