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Former Columbus Officer Pleads Guilty to Selling Cocaine in Federal Court


COLUMBUS, OH – In a significant development on Wednesday, a former Columbus police officer pleaded guilty to charges of selling cocaine in federal court. The case stems from allegations that two officers engaged in a scheme to steal and sell multiple kilograms of cocaine, including drugs taken from the division’s evidence storage rooms, netting at least $70,000.

Joel Mefford, 34, of London, and John Castillo, 31, of Grove City, were arrested and appeared in court on Thursday, as announced by Kenneth Parker, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. The charges against the officers include possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, an offense punishable by a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

While Castillo has entered a guilty plea, a sentencing date has not yet been set. In contrast, Mefford has pleaded not guilty to his charges, with his trial scheduled to commence on September 9.

The indictments reveal serious accusations against the two former officers, including the theft of cocaine from evidence rooms and investigation scenes. They allegedly passed the narcotics to another individual for sale, further complicating the case.

In response to the charges, Columbus Police Division (CPD) Chief Elaine Bryant released a statement highlighting the extensive nature of the investigation leading to these indictments. Chief Bryant emphasized that the charges result from years of diligent investigative work.