E-Mails Show Drug Sting May Have Been Stopped For Political Reasons

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An incident at the Governor's Residence may have started after state law enforcement officials tried to prevent embarrassment to Gov. Ted Strickland, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported on Wednesday.

New information obtained by 10 Investigates on Wednesday showed Ohio's director of public safety and the Ohio State Highway Patrol colonel discussing embarrassment to state officials, rather than officer safety, as the reason behind stopping a drug sting.

E-mails between the Ohio State Highway Patrol officials involved in the decision to call off the sting showed an effort to reduce political embarrassment, Aker reported.

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State investigators learned an inmate work crew from the Pickaway Correctional Institution may have been planning to use their jobs at the residence to smuggle drugs.

Investigators intercepted a letter from inmate Douglas Brofford to his wife, Angela, that they believed contained information about a drug drop, Aker reported.

Patrol investigators planned a sting to catch Angela Brofford in the act.  At the last minute, the patrol called off the plan and decided to warn her instead, Aker reported.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Col. David Dicken told a senate committee in February that the sting was stopped for safety reasons.

"I made the decision that we were not going to allow unidentified contraband to be thrown over the wall of the residence," Dicken said. "We thought it was a gross violation of officer safety practices."

E-mails obtained by 10 Investigates on Wednesday revealed that Dicken appeared to have been taking orders to avoid political embarrassment, and not officer safety.

Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor, an appointee of the governor who oversees the patrol, sent e-mails discussing the sting, Aker reported.

In one e-mail, Collins-Taylor writes, "Terry C. is totally fine with a visit to her with a warning ... (he) had concerns about the level it was being ramped up to also and the embarrassment to the boss ...."

In another e-mail, sent just 12 minutes later, Collins-Taylor wrote, "Hopefully we succeeded in a grand down-scaling."

Collins-Taylor declined to comment, Aker reported. Dicken has also declined to comment.

An e-mail from Dicken to Collins-Taylor states that if investigators can not forewarn Brofford, they would arrest her, saying the arrest would be "safe, and low key."

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Previous Stories:

February 24, 2010: Cover Up Allegations Follow Canceled Drug Sting
February 23, 2010:  Concerns Linger About Alcohol, Inmates Inside Governor's Residence
February 17, 2010:  10 Investigates' Probe Prompts Senate Hearing
February 2, 2010:   Patrol Changes Investigation Involving Major 
February 1, 2010:   Ex-Colonel Wants Investigation Into Alleged Gov. Residence Plot
January 29, 2010:   Ohio Highway Patrol Official Ousted Over Alleged Gov. Residence Plot
January 28, 2010:   Strickland Confident How Patrol Handled Sting Outside His Mansion
January 27, 2010:   Woman At Center Of Alleged Drug Deal Governor's Mansion Explains Ordeal
January 26, 2010:   Patrol Tips Off Woman Suspected In Drug Deal At Governor's Mansion