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Corruption Charges Filed Against Philadelphia Police Detective

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 16, 2009
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200

PHILADELPHIA—United States Attorney Michael L. Levy today announced the unsealing of an Indictment against Rickie Durham, a Philadelphia police detective, charging that Durham, through a third party, warned drug dealer Alton “Ace Capone” Coles of a forthcoming search by federal law enforcement agents. Coles, in turn, called his associates to share the information. Durham is charged with obstruction of justice, giving advanced notice of a search, and making false statements to federal law enforcement officers. Joining in today’s announcement: ATF Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Russ May, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk, IRS Special Agent-in-Charge Don Fort.

Durham had a longstanding friendship with “J.R., Jr.”, from whom Durham had received gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars. In 2005, Durham was assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Task Force Officer from the Philadelphia police department. According to the indictment, on August 10, 2005, federal agents were preparing to search the homes of then-suspected drug kingpin Alton Coles and his associates when Durham placed a call to J.R., Jr., the half-brother of Coles’ paramour Asya Richardson. The indictment alleges that Durham told J.R. Jr. about the impending searches so that J.R. Jr. would, and did, in turn, get word to J.R.’s sister, Asya Richardson. Searches of at least 23 properties and 11 automobiles associated with the Coles Cocaine Gang were scheduled for that day. According to the indictment, Coles then placed several calls to his co-conspirators warning them of the imminent searches and, in at least one case, telling them to hide or destroy evidence. For example, Coles called co-conspirator Monique Pullins and told her to take the gun that he had left in her apartment and “drop it down the trash chute.” Coles also instructed another of his paramours to put the alarm on her house, where Coles had stashed drugs and drug proceeds. Finally, Coles attempted to reach his top lieutenant, Timothy Baukman, but was unable to do so. At the time of the calls, Baukman was in possession of three firearms in his apartment, including a fully-automatic machine gun. In Baukman’s other apartment, in Lansdowne, PA, he had 10 firearms, including a rifle with a laser-point scope. On August 10, 2005, federal, state, and local law enforcement agents searched 23 different locations and 11 different automobiles connected to Coles associates. During those searches they recovered numerous firearms, including several 9-millimeter handguns, live ammunition, several hundred grams of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $800,000 in drug proceeds. Coles and his associates were convicted, at trial, of numerous charges in connection with running the drug organization.

“As the indictment alleges, this defendant not only violated his oath to protect and serve the public, he put the lives of federal and local law enforcement agents in grave danger,” said Levy. “The targets of these searches had an arsenal of weapons at their disposal and, had they chosen to take a stand against the agents and officers, the result could have been tragic. Rickie Durham took an oath to enforce and uphold the law. On that day however, he betrayed his oath and his fellow law enforcement officers.”

“The alleged actions of Mr. Durham are contrary to the code of police officer duty when trying to prevent crime and ensure public safety,” said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge for the Philadelphia Field Division of ATF Russell May. “ATF lives, those of our partners and community members were endangered when, as the indictment elicits, Mr. Durham contacted a major violent drug dealer, through an intermediary, to alert him of law enforcement presence.”

“Rickie Durham, in his official position as a Philadelphia Police Officer and FBI Federal Task Force Officer, abandoned the sacred trust of his law enforcement oath in order to curry the favor of his criminal friends,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “Working in our office alongside FBI Agents and other law enforcement officers, he jeopardized not only important on-going criminal investigations but also public safety through his alleged criminal activities.”

“Rickie Durham was a sworn police officer and took an oath to serve and protect the people,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Don Fort, of the IRS’ Criminal Investigation, Philadelphia Field Office. “Instead, Durham violated that oath and put many law enforcement officers at risk by his criminal actions. The IRS’ Criminal Investigation will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s office, as well as other law enforcement agencies, to expose corrupt police officers and to restore trust in the justice system for the citizens of Philadelphia.”

In June 2008, ATF and FBI agents, who were investigating the origin of the warning given to Alton Coles, interviewed Durham. In the interview, Durham lied about his relationship with J.R., Jr. and falsely denied warning J.R., Jr. that searches would be conducted at homes and properties associated with Alton Coles and the Coles Cocaine Organization. Durham made similar false statements to investigators in January 2009.

Rickie Durham
Philadelphia, PA


If convicted of all charges, Durham faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Bresnick and Richard A. Lloret.

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