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The History of an Investigation

A History of the Mala Sangre OCDETF Investigation

Fri., Feb. 16, 2001

The following is a chronology of the major events associated with the Mala Sangre investigation. Sources: court documents, depositions, and police interviews.

October 1994: Investigators initiate investigation of Roger López and begin collecting intelligence.

June 1995: Investigators attempt surveillance at Cocktails nightclub, but say they were pulled off surveillance by supervisors.

October 1995: The Mala Sangre Organized Crime Direct Enforcement Task Force is officially initiated; weekly meetings for OCDETF investigators and supervisors begin.

November 1995: Video surveillance begins of East Austin businesses believed to be associated with drug trafficking.

December 1995: OCDETF supervisor Capt. Cecil Huff replaced by Capt. Rick Coy. On Dec. 12, Coy is given a personal briefing on Mala Sangre.

March 1996: According to investigators, APD review of surveillance tapes begin to decline and "investigative intelligence started to fall behind."

May 1996: For the first time, Roger López is documented as having made a shipment of marijuana.

June 1996: Roger López stages a second documented shipment of marijuana.

June 1996: U.S. Attorney Mark Marshall meets with APD Chief Elizabeth Watson to brief her about the investigation and possible APD involvement.

August 1996: Surveillance of one business ceases, with several months of unreviewed tapes outstanding and no further action, according to police sources.

September 1996: APD officers begin to be taken off the Mala Sangre case, investigators say, and are reassigned.

January 1997: OCDETF Lt. David Crowder is replaced by Lt. Don Bredl. Sgt. Joe Lake is replaced by Sgt. Robert Chapman.

Febuary 1997: Officer David Maddox, observed during the investigation, is terminated for buying and using cocaine while on duty.

February 1997: A third Roger López shipment of marijuana, totaling 1,952 pounds, is seized by Corpus Christi DEA agents. López associates are arrested, and DEA initiates a possession case.

February 1997: Chief Elizabeth Watson leaves APD, and is replaced by acting Chief Bruce Mills.

March-April 1997: López associates debriefed by OCDETF agents.

July 1997: Officer Stan Farris, the last remaining APD officer on the Mala Sangre case, is reassigned. By July 22, federal investigators decide to close the Austin portion of case due to lack of manpower. APD involvement in the case officially ends.

July 1997: Officer Cecil Huff files whistleblower lawsuit against APD, charging retaliation for reporting of "possible unethical or illegal conduct" by APD officers.

October 1997: Roger López arrested in Austin.

October 1997: Officers Stan Farris and David Gunn file whistleblower lawsuit against the APD, charging their transfers were in retaliation for results of Mala Sangre investigation.

October 1997: Stan Knee becomes chief of the Austin Police Department.

November 1997: López pleads on possession charges in the Southern Judicial District.

July 1998: López sentenced in Corpus Christi on possession charges.

November 1998: López pleads guilty to conspiracy charges in federal court, Western Judicial District, Austin.

March 1999: López sentenced in Austin on conspiracy charges. He is currently serving an eight-year federal prison sentence.

April 1999: With the help of Officer Stan Farris, IRS agent Wayne Young drafts "Summary of Allegations" for the Mala Sangre investigation.

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