Colorado North Metro Task Force. The tip of the corrupt Iceberg?

By: JD Benish  Codefore Publishing

        I was  somewhat surprised to read about the alleged corruption in the Colorado North Metro Task Force.  What is this Task Force you ask?  It’s a multi-jurisdictional group of law enforcement officers whose objective is to seek out  and arrest criminals who are into the illegal drug manufacturing and distribution business. Why am I surprised or even interested?  Because the address of this group of elite officers is the same address where I spent many many years as a cop and the alleged corrupt police officer in the Task Force, Dante Carbone, was one of my  associates.  We both worked at the Thornton Police Department.  Dante was a sergeant back then.  It is notable that Carbone was a Sergeant for over 20 years and suddenly rose to the rank of commander in the middle of these Task Force allegations.

          Somehow all this does not surprise me.  I suspected that there was corruption in the Adams County District Attorney’s office as far back as the early 1990’s when an assistant District Attorney named Edward Towey was found dead of a drug overdose.  His body was found in a slum motel in the City of Wheatridge.  Death by a drug overdose in itself is not really something that is uncommon, even if Mr. Towey was a deputy district attorney.  We all know that drugs touch the lives of many people no matter what their occupation.  However in Mr. Towey’s case, he was in charge of the drug seizures made by all the police departments in Adams county.  By drug seizures, I mean this. In Colorado, if you are arrested for a drug related crime, the authorities can seize any property used  during the commission of the drug crime and they can keep the property even if the arrestee is not convicted.  The property is usually houses, cars, boats ,cash etc:  The paperwork submitted by the individual police departments asking for approval to seize the property passed over Mr. Towey’s desk.

          I had already retired back then but the Towey investigation was so sensitive that officers contacted me and gave me copies of their reports to keep these reports from ‘Getting Lost.’  It goes without saying that these reports cannot be found in any police department today.  After I received the reports I asked both the FBI and the State Attorney General Gale Norton for a special investigation into the Towey matter.  You see, one of the reports alleged that there was rampant drug abuse within the Adams County District Attorney’s office and another was an officers report that Towey was associating with known criminals.  I did not get a response from either agency.

           Edward Towey rubbed elbows with people back then who have since held posts in Colorado such as Attorney General , Governor and even a Federal cabinet position.  The Carbone Task Force case was apparently handled in the same way that the Towey case was handled.  No  investigation transparency, no reports, no witnesses equals no crime.   Everyone is safe.

          Thirty years ago if people had known about these types of cover-ups maybe something would have been done about it. Today its just the way our government works  from the Federal level down to the village level.  How can we hold our local community governments accountable if the ‘players’ are all the same as the players in the Federal Government?

I look back at it now and realize  that maybe the North Metro Task Force really is just the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

Additional information below the court document.

                                THE PLAYERS

Chief James Nursey          Sgt. Dante Carbone                 Sgt. Richard Reigenborn

nursey 2      Dante Carbone      Richard Reigenborn

Dan Tang                          Ex Mayor Noel Busck               Adams DA Don Quick

Dan Tang      Noel_Busck1        Don Quick

Ex Mayor Eric Hansen    Commander Hersee               Adams Sheriff Doug Darr

Eric Hansen Mayor Thornton      hersee_tim2         Doug Darr

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO.

Civil Action No:10-cv-00649-CMA-MJW DANIEL JOYCE and ROBERT LOPEZ

Plaintiffs,

v. NORTH METRO TASK FORCE, THE CITY OF NORTHGLEN, COLORADO THE CITY OF THORNTON, COLORADO, JAMES NURSEY, CHIEF, THORNTON POLICE DEPARTMENT in his official and individual capacities,

RUSSELL VAN HOUSTEN, CHIEF, NORTHGLEN POLICE DEPARTMENT, In his official and individual capacities, JACK BELL, in his official and individual capacities, DANTE CARBONE, in his official and individual capacities, TIMOTHY HERSEE, in his official and individual capacities, and RICHARD REIGENBORN, in his official and individual capacities,

Defendants..

ATTORNEY’S AMENDED AFFIDAVIT AS TO RELEVANCE OF DOCUMENTS AND TESTIMONY.

Pursuant to regulations found at 28 C.F.R. 1621 et seq

I, Patricia S. Bangert, state that I have personal knowledge of and am competent to testify about the facts stated in this affidavit and state as follows:

 1 I am preparing this affidavit based upon my review of the summary of the  reporting to the leak in the Oak Chin case and my review of the notes of Plaintiff Lopez’ review of the summary, and my knowledge of facts discovered to this  point in the case.

2 Typed excerpts of the hand-written notes of my review are attached hereto as Exhibits A-1  Those notes indicate the specific page in the report upon which quoted materials are located.

       RELEVANCE OF DOCUMENTS

3. The summary of the report of the investigation indicates that the report  contains the following assertions:

       BACKGROUND AND SUSPICION OF SERGEANT CARBONE

(i) it was common for NMTF members to put birth dates after names;  while it was not common for DEA agents to do so;

(ii) the letter mentioned a friendly rivalry between Tang and his wife,  something NMTF members knew, but DEA members did not; and  NMTF detectives were more familiar with surveillance in the case  than DEA agents.

  1. “But of the 29 DEA and NMTF employees interviewed approximately half questioned Sergeant Carbone’s integrity and/or suspected that he may have been involved in compromising the Tan investigation.
  2. In April and May of 2008 polygraph examinations were conducted by the DEA of the six suspects.  Detectives Joyce and Oser passed.  Sergeant Bell Declined to take the examination.  Detective Garcia’s examination showed deception.  “On May 13, 2008, DEA polygraphist Special Agent Robert Dwyer administered the examination to Sergeant Carbone. In the opinion of SA Dwyer, Sergeant Carbone was deceptive in answering “no” to the relevant questions. Special Agent Dwyer determined that the result of Sergeant Carbone’s polygraph examination was ‘Deception Indicated.’  Special Agent Dwyer noted that as the polygraph testing began, Sergeant Carbone began to sweat profusely.  According to Speecial Agent Dwyer, at one point Sergeant Carbone asked a question to the effect of, “Does everyone sweat like me?”
  3. According to investigators, Sergeant Bell advised detectives not to take the polygraph examinations. “Specifically, Detective Garcia and some other detectives at the NMTF reported to the investigators. Prior to Detective Garcia’s polygraph examination that Sergeant Bell was attempting to organize a group of detectives who would refuse to take the polygraph examination.” “When later asked about the claims, Sergeant Bell stated that he was simply relaying information from upper management at the Westminster Police Department and a refusal to take the polygraph examination would not be looked upon unfavorably by the management at the Westminster Police Department. The investigators investigated two subjects in particular, Detective Oser and Dante Carbone.  They found no concrete evidence to support accusations against Oser. Oser stated that “the author of the letter undermined the safety of everyone working the case, which Detective Oser considered unreasonable.” According to Detective Oser, Sergeant Carbone criticized Detective Oser and the NMTF case agents for allowing DEA agents to seize control of the investigation.”
    1. “Approximately half of those interviewed. Including two of the three members of the NMTF management, questioned Sergeant Carbone’s integrity and/or suspected his involvement with the compromising of the investigation.” The most frequently mentioned reason was “that Carbone had a prior relationship with Tang that he did not mention to NMTF and DEA employees.”Carbone and Tang admitted that they “had known each other for years.” Tang said that Carbone “has eaten at Heaven Dragon a couple of times per month for may years.” And said that he had known Sergeant Carbone for 6 or 7 years.  When Tang was interviewed on February 18, 2008 he said that “he was disappointed because he looked bad in front of his friend Dante.” Further, while the investigation was active and ongoing, Carbone continued to eat at Tang’s restaurant, Heaven Dragon, even taking other NMTF detectives there on February 8, 2008.
    2. Detectives also stated that Carbone “micromanaged” the Tang investigation, wanting to “know every detail” and “wanted to direct and control the case himself.” In addition, “Sergeant Carbone seemed concerned about the political implications of the Tang investigation.” Carbone also, “seemed to have little interest in discovering who had compromised the Tang investigation.”
    3. Commander Hersee described Carbone’s behavior as “unusual or suspicious.”  Hersee said that he and Sergeant Carbone discussed the investigation of the compromising of the case nearly every day, with Sergeant Carbone attempting to obtain information from Commander Hersee. Commander Hersee stated that he “shared with Sergeant Carbone details about the investigation that he had learned from the investigators.  According to Commander Hersee, Sergeant Carbone told him several times that “he thought that the author of the letter never thought that it would be discovered.”  “Commander Hersee said that he was eventually directed by Broomfield Police Chief Deland to stop sharing information with Sergeant Carbone.
    4. Commander Hersee stated that once he stopped discussing the investigation with Sergeant Carbone, Sergeant Carbone became ‘unduly concerned’ and ‘extremely nervous’ about the investigation. The investigators stated that their investigation showed instances of questionable ethics on Sergeant Carbone’s part.  In an earlier leak of information about a case, the person receiving the information, Carl Scherk, a former Westminster Police Officer fired for corruption, said that he learned everything from Carbone.  In another instance, a gang member claimed to be an in-law of Carbone.  Also, an officer came to Carbone with suspicions of a dirty cop and Carbone discouraged the officer form pursuing the matter. The timing of the Cell Phone Purchase and the Mailing of the letter to Tang.
    5. Special Agent Marshall, one of the DEA officers assigned to the Oak Chin case, told Carbone on February 5 or 6, 2008, that he was going to get a warrant to tap Tang’s wife’s phone. The wire tapping actually started on the February 13, 2008.  The cell phone whose number was listed in the leak to the letter to Tang, was purchased on February 7 and the letter was mailed on February 8, 2008.  The NMTF learned on February 13, 2008 that Tang and his associates knew that they were being investigated.  Detective Joyce urged immediate action against the organization.  Carbone was strongly against taking immediate action. The DEA finally made the decision to go forward a day or two later.
    6. In an interview with Carbone, Carbone told investigators that he had seen the letter in a Board of Governors meeting on February 28, 2008. The investigators found that Carbone was one of 25 officers who did not comment on the contents of the letter, just asking whether there was a photograph of the girl buying the cell phone.
    7. Investigation of the purchase of the Cell phone described in the letter mailed to Tang. Investigators found that a relative of Carbone had been in the vicinity of Westminster Mall, when the cell phone was purchased on February7, 2008.
    8. The investigators found that Dan Tang was very politically connected.  Tang knew Dante Carbone’s first name. Tang’s closest relationships were with Kent Fenzel, a former police officer.  He was also close with Tom Meyer, a Thornton police officer. Tang was close friends with Noel Busck, a former deputy mayor of Thornton. He had a close relationship with Marty Flaum, former Adams County commissioner and a lobbyist for the Republicans. Tang reported being friends with Thornton Mayor Eric Hansen and all city Council members. He also knew :Sean Ford, the former Mayor of Commerce City; Joanne Schaefer, wife of Fred Schaefer and the Chairwoman of the Adams County Education Foundation; Mary Lee Bella, Thornton Police Department Lieutenant: Don Quick, District Attorney, and Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr..Tang also raised money or contributed to numerous campaigns.  He raised $50,000 for Bill Owens and raised funds for Senator Allard, governor Ritter, Bob Beauprez, Governor Hickenlooper, Senator Salazar, Senator Udall, President Bush, Senator John  Thune, Representative Robert Schaffer, Rick O’Donnell, George Allan, Mike Coffman, and Sheriff Doug Darr.  He also contributed to the Republican Campaign committee, the Colorado Democratic Party, and Americans for Truth in Politics.
    9. The investigators found that, at the end of May, 2008, Quick was heard to say that “he did not want to prosecute {Tang} because  Tang was a significant political contributor to various elected officials, and also contributed financially to the community to the community as a whole. “Quick supposedly said at a subsequent meeting that he did not want to prosecute Tang because Tang and Busck are friends of his.  After Tang’s arrest, Tang stated that Carbone said to him; “Dan this looks bad for the community.” Incidents involving Noel Busck.
    10. Noel Busck, the former deputy mayor of Thornton, is a friend of Tang’s   and Carbone’s.  He is a Tang confidant, having known him for 20 years. Busck is also a friend of Carbone’s describing Carbone as his “bud” who    “watches my back.”
    11. On February 17, 2008, a friend told Busck that Tang was likely to be arrested.  On February 20, 2008, after his arrest, Tang asked Busck to hold $400,000.00 for him.  Busck took the money and eventually put it in a safe deposit box at a local bank.  On February 21, Tang asked Busck to give him the money to Tang’s wife.  Busck refused and Tang came to Buscks house and took back the money. Another officer heard about this matter from Dan Joyce.  The officer, Detective Dudley, told Carbone about the incident on February 26, 2008 at which time Carbone “became visibly upset, irrational, and was physically shaking.  Carbone threatened to fire Joyce.
    12. On March 7, 2008, Carbone and Wayne Campbell, an assistant U.S. Attorney on the Tang case, met and decided not to prosecute Busck.  Carbone and Campbell had been friends for a long time.  Campbell said that he did not know what to do with Carbone at that lunch.
    13. After lunch with Wayne Campbell, Carbone called Busck and told him that Busck would be “a witness” and not a “suspect” in the Tang case. Busck does not remember being told that he was a witness, he never testified in front of the Grand Jury, and he was not contacted by authorities for months after the call from Carbone.

     POSSIBLE MOTIVES:

  1. The investigators said that a possible motive for Carbone to author the letter, if he did so, was political, that is to  “limit the exposure of Tang and associates.” Especially after the warrant was allowed for the tap of Tang’s wife’s phone.
  2. The investigators heard that “Tang is close to Thornton’s city officials and was “a favorite” in Thornton.  The investigators were also told that everyone knows that Tang’s restaurant is involved in tax evasion.     

    DECLINATION TO PROSECUTE

4. Plaintiff Lopez reported to me that he was told, by a source within the US  Attorney’s Office:

(i)that DEA investigators had presented the case to the  U.S. Attorney’s office:

(ii)that office declined to prosecute.

5. Based upon the summary of the report, which is detailed in part above, Plaintiffs believe that the report is relevant to their case for a number of reasons, including:

a. First, the report details the specific speech in which Plaintiffs engaged. Although the summary does not include details of specific conversations,     presumably the report does.  Details of conversations with Plaintiffs would   presumably prove that Plaintiffs engaged in speech about matters of public   concern, such speech including that a Task Force sergeant was the source  of the leak, suspicions that certain members of the Task Force were  corrupt, that the Task Force was dragging its feet in finding corruption   within its ranks, that prosecutors were not pursuing the case to its full  extent, and , in fact, were refusing to prosecute certain political figures.

b. Second, the report may show a motive for Defendants’ retaliation against officers Joyce and Lopez. The summary shows that an independent investigatory entity focused on a Task Force Sergeant-then Sergeant Carbone- as a primary suspect in the leak. At that time, Sergeant Carbone was a supervisor at the North Metro Task Force and , in fact, was the primary supervisor of the Oak Chin case. Plaintiffs raised concerns about Sergeant Carbone as the leak to his supervisors, to the DEA and to prosecutors, and urged that Carbone be taken off the Task Force until the investigation into the leak was completed, as it appears to be standard amongst police agencies.  The report may show that the Board of Governors, a Defendant in this case, was aware of every aspect of the investigation through its representatives, Officers Villano and Williams. The report may indicate that the Board failed to vigorously pursue the investigation into the leak.

For example, Sergeant Bell, another Task Force Sergeant, attempted to organize a group of detectives who would refuse to take the polygraph examination. When later asked about the claims, according to the summary, Sergeant Bell stated that he was simply relaying information from upper management would not be looked upon unfavorably by the management at the Westminster Police Department. The report may show that the Board also refused to move Carbone from the Task Force while the investigation was ongoing, even while telling Commander Hersee not to give Carbone any information about the investigation. Further, as indicated above. The report may include information implicating Carbone in the leak of information. After the investigation was completed, Thornton police department promoted Carbone to Commander.  The report and the resulting promotion may be used to raise reasonable inferences about Thornton’s opposition to the leak investigation, its position with regard to my clients’ calls to do an investigation, and its retaliation against Plaintiff Lopez.

c. Third, the report may also show that there may well have been substantial political influence exerted int eh Oak Chin case, providing yet another motive for the Board and other defendants to silence the Plaintiffs.

The report may identify close friends of Dan Tang, the head of the organized crime activity in the the Oak Chin case, including Tom Meyer, a Thornton police officer, Noel Busck, former deputy Mayor of Thornton, Marty Flaum, former Adams County Commissioner and a lobbyist for the Republicans.

In the summary, Tang also reported being friends with Thornton Mayor Eric Hansenand all City Council members.  He also knew, according to the summary: Sean Ford, the former Maryor of Commerce City, Joanne Schaefer, wife of Fred Schaefer and the Chairwoman of the Adams County Education Fondation: MaraLee Bella, Thornton Police Department Lieutenant, Don Quick, District Attorney, and Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr.  The summary of the report also details political gifts and fund raising on the part of Dan Tang, including the fact that he raised  $50.000.00 for Bill Owens, and raised funds for Senator Allard, Governor Ritter, Bob Beauprez, Governor Hickenlooper,  Senator Salazar, and Senators  Salazar, Udall and Campbell.  The summary also shows that Tang contributed money to Bob Beauprez, Senator Salazar, Senator Udall, President Bush, Senator John Thune, Representative Robert Schaffer, Rick O’Donnell, George Allan, Mike Coffman, and Sheriff Doug Darr.  The summary of the report also shows that Tang contributed to the Republican Campaign committee, the Colorado Democratic Party and Americans for Truth in Politics.  The summary of the report details the incident in which Dan Tang asked former Deputy Mayor Noel Busck to hold $400,000.00 for him.  Noel Busck did so even after being told that Dan Tang would be shortly arrested. The summary also shows that, less than a month after Plaintiffs spoke to supervisors,  Wayne Campbell, a prosecutor, and Carbone told Busck that he would not be prosecuted, but rather, Carbone informed Busck that he would be a witness.  The summary of the report shows that Busck was never used as a witness un the case and was not even interviewed until months after the arrest of Dan Tang.  The summary of the report also indicates that District Attorney Dan Quick was quoted as saying that he would not prosecute Tang because he and Busck were friends. The summary also indicates that the report details many of the activities of the organized crime enterprise in the Oak Chin case, raising possible reasonable inferences about the motive of the failure to charge Tang and others with RICO violations, carrying a much weight sentence than the 18 months sentence finally agreed to by Federal Prosecutors.

d. Fourth, the report may show that other members of the Task Force were concerned about retribution from the  Task Force or their home police agencies for co-operating in the DEA investigation into the leak again, although the summary does not include the details of specific conversations, presumably the report does.  Details of conversations with officers may prove that the Task Force, or individual police agencies have a history of retaliating against officers who speak out on matters of public concern, or who co-operated with the DEA in this investigation.

e. Fifth, the report may also verify Plaintiffs’ beliefs that their lives might be in jeopardy if they were required to work with and under a corrupt police  sergeant.  An independent investigation by the DEA appears to determine that Sergeant Carbone was the prime suspect in the leak to Dan Tang.  An element in Plaintiff Joyce’s case is constructive termination. The report may verify that Plaintiff Joyce had a reasonable fear that his continued employment at the Task Force put his safety in jeopardy.  In addition, the summary of the report indicates that at least one other officer also believed the situation endangered the safety of officers on the Task Force.

  f. Sixth, the report might shed light on the credibility of Defendants. For example, Defendant Hersee testified under oath that he did not recall anyone telling him not to share information about the investigation into the leak with Sergeant Carbone.  In contrast, the summary of the report indicated that Hersee stated that he was instructed by Broomfield Police Chief Deland not to share information with Carbone.

      THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE REPORT AND ITS SUMMARY CANNOT BE OBTAINED    ELSEWHERE

6. To this point in time, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has refused to produce the  report of the investigation to anyone. The members of the Board of Governors  have testified that they were allowed to read only the summary of the report,  and,  privilege” for any discussion occurring in the executive session of the Board  of Governors, including discussions of the investigation into the leak and/or  briefings concerning the investigation.  Thus, there is no way for Plaintiffs to  receive the report or know its contents from sources other than the Federal Government.

      RELEVANCE AND UNAVAILABILITY OF ROACH TESTIMONY

 7.  Plaintiffs wish to depose Paul Roach and have sent a subpoena to that effect.

8.  According to the summary of the report, Special Agent Roach was assigned, along with Special Agent Santavicca, to investigate the leak in the Oak Chin   case.  As such, Special Agent Roach can testify as to:

a. What he learned in his investigation, which is relevant as discussed  above;

b. The facts underlying the opinions in the report;

 c. Any gaps in the report or other relevant information not included in the  report.

d. The identity and authenticity of the report of the investigation and/or its   summary, as  well as the author of the report.

e. Whether the report was presented to prosecutors and the response from  the prosecutors.

9. Because the investigation into the leak in the Oak Chin case was performed by the DEA, and the report of the investigation was authored by the DEA and presented to Federal Prosecutors, there is no one else who can supply complete information on the investigation and resulting report.  While the Board of the Task Force assigned two officers to the investigation, they were assigned only to provide assistance as needed.

Dated this 15th day of  February, 2011

_______________________________________Patricia S. Bangert Page 12 of 13

STATE OF COLORADO)) ss: COUNTY OF DENVER

Subscribed and sworn to before me by Patricia S. Bangert this______day of February, 2011.

Witness signed:____________________________________Notary

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

     Research by Codefore into the campaign contributions received by Don Quick do not indicate any campaign contributions by Mr. Tang. It should also be noted that Donald Quick registered as a candidate in July of 2003 with a beginning balance of $9,560.26.  The highest amount recorded by the elections commission from 2003 until May of 2013 is approximately $20,000.00.  Since Quick’s formal declaration of candidacy  in 2003 he has received nominal contributions with long reporting periods of no contributions.  In effect he has run his political career for 10 years with approximately $12,000.00.  ($1,230.00) per year.  Don Quick is now running for Colorado Attorney General.

     Colorado Election Records for Noel Busck could not be found for Busck’s tenure on the Thornton City Council however he filed reports as a candidate for the RTD Director of District K from 2006 until 12/2/2010.  He reports that he did not have any contributions or expenses over $15.00.

      Now comes Dan Tang who it is reported raised $50,000.00 for the election of Governor Bill Owen and numerous other candidates.  Colorado election records dating back to 2001 indicate that a person named Dan Tang contributed $5,000 to Bill Owens in 2001, in 2006 $300.00 to “Citizens to Elect LeFebvre and in 2007 $150.00 to the Adams County Republican Party.

13 Comments to "Colorado North Metro Task Force. The tip of the corrupt Iceberg?"

  1. KYUNG LUONG's Gravatar KYUNG LUONG
    April 23, 2016 - 6:00 am | Permalink

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    • Cathey McCowin's Gravatar Cathey McCowin
      April 24, 2016 - 5:05 am | Permalink

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  2. Richard Sokol's Gravatar Richard Sokol
    September 1, 2015 - 7:44 pm | Permalink

    My son is mentally ill and has a seizure disorder. On 4/11/13, he was SWAT raided by North Metro Task Force. They had seen his license a week before. The cause was marijuana smoke. I was senior Zoning Inspector of Adams County (so I knew he was in compliance) and have done hundreds of seizure warrants. His bond was set at $100k and the charges included an 8 years mandatory prison sentence if he didn’t plead guilty to a fifth degree felony. They wanted his patients names (he didn’t give them to the police). His mental condition spiraled down and his seizures came back. I have lost my home, he lost his home trying to defend him. I still don’t know why they raided him. The officer’s perjured themselves on court record…and yet…here we are. The DA’s office was notified he was not to be interviewed without counsel because of his mental condition…they interviewed him anyway…they said it was “an honest mistake”. I’ve gone everywhere for help. Nobody cares.

  3. T Gallo's Gravatar T Gallo
    August 31, 2015 - 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I would like to know who wrote this comment, is there any way that I can reply directly.

  4. August 2, 2013 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Very Interesting! It isn’t easy to find quality stuff.

  5. Dave's Gravatar Dave
    July 11, 2013 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    After all these years, no changes or nobody gets it! I know all these people, and when I was employed with them, in the 80’s and 90’s they were the same. NO surprises.

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