2 Ohio officers arrested, federally charged for allegedly stealing, selling cocaine

COLUMBUS — Two Ohio police officers have been arrested on federal charges after allegedly stealing and selling cocaine.

Columbus Division of Police officers John Castillo, 31, and Joel Mefford, 34, were both arrested and appeared in federal court on Thursday, according to United States Attorney Kenneth Parker.

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They were both charged on separate indictments with possessing with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, which alone could lead to 10 years to life in prison. Mefford was also charged with money laundering and two counts of possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

According to court records, Mefford was investigating a drug crime in February 2020 and “unlawfully gained access to a detached garage belonging to the subject of the investigation.”

Without a warrant, Mefford allegedly found two kilograms of cocaine in the rafters of the garage. He’s accused of unlawfully taking one and leaving the other kilogram to be found during the execution of a search warrant. He then allegedly gave the stolen drugs to someone to sell.

In another case in February and March 2020, Mefford was investigating drug trafficking at homes in Columbus.

In March, he allegedly took a bag containing multiple kilograms of cocaine from one of the houses and arrested a suspect. He then went to another home in the investigation and removed a kilogram of cocaine. That same day, he turned in one kilogram to evidence and stole the others to be sold.

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In April of that same year, he allegedly stole 20 kilograms of cocaine from the Columbus police property room and replaced it with fake cocaine.

It was also reported that he deposited more than $72,000 in cash from the cocaine sales into his personal account.

According to Castillo’s indictment, he allegedly took 10 kilograms of cocaine from a home and did not turn it into evidence. Instead, he planted two additional kilograms of cocaine for law enforcement to find at that same house later that day. The 10 kilograms he took were then stored in another person’s basement before being given to someone else to sell.

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