Seven Arrested, Indicted After Six-Month Investigation
1:14 PM, Mar 23, 2007
An Indianapolis reserve police officer and several other people were arrested Thursday on suspicion of conspiring to distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana over the past four months, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.A federal grand jury indicted reserve officer Christopher Spaulding, 26, on charges of conspiring to traffic in marijuana, distributing marijuana and possessing marijuana with intent to deliver.Authorities said they believe Spaulding operated a marijuana ring, and that state police began investigating him after receiving a tip six months ago that he was dealing marijuana while in uniform.Also arrested in connection with the Spaulding probe were Steven Keller, 39, Dustin Adams, 24, Christopher Johns, 27, and Natasha Nix, 25, all of whom were indicted on charges of conspiring to traffic in marijuana.Spaulding's mother, Darlene Spaulding, 52, and his wife, Brandi Spaulding, 22, also were arrested, having been indicted on charges of using a cell phone to facilitate the trafficking of marijuana.Authorities said that a month ago, Christopher Spaulding went to a Hendricks County motel in uniform, used his police powers to gain entry, seized marijuana, and gave the marijuana to someone else to sell.In November, Spaulding took about $7,000 from an undercover state police officer posing as a drug dealer and did not turn it in as evidence, assistant U.S. attorney Tim Morrison said."There are allegations in the indictment that certain hand-to-hand buys of marijuana were done between Mr. Spaulding and other undercover law enforcement individuals," Morrison said.Because Spaulding is alleged to have committed a drug trafficking crime while carrying a firearm, he could be sentenced to life in prison and be fined more than $2 million if he is convicted, Rinehart reported.The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department fired Spaulding after his arrest.IMPD Chief Michael Spears said he considered Spaulding to be dangerous."The fact that you have a man who has clearly gone on the other side of the law, who has weapons and the potential to use them in a dangerous fashion, in my judgment makes him a very dangerous person," Spears said at a press conference announcing the indictments.Adams, Johns, Nix and Keller -- who owns a trucking company -- could face a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and a maximum fine of $2 million if they are convicted.Brandi and Darlene Spaulding face a maximum sentence of four years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if convicted.