Gary cop accused of drug dealing to be released on bond
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org August 17, 2012 4:42PM
Updated: September 19, 2012 6:09AM
A Gary cop accused of dealing drugs and helping a felon buy a handgun will be released on a $20,000 bond.
U.S. Judge Andrew Rodovich ruled Friday afternoon against a federal attorney’s request to detain David Finley Jr., 31, of Merrillville, citing Finley’s work history, stable home life and lack of any previous criminal history.
Finley was arrested Monday, according to a probable cause affidavit, as he was in the process of selling drugs to a confidential informant in the parking lot of the Dawghouse near of U.S. 30 and Whitcomb Street.
The FBI first started investigating Finley, who has worked as a patrolman for the Gary Police Department since 2009, in July when the informant reported him for selling cocaine to the informant’s girlfriend. The affidavit says they then conducted two drug buys through the informant with Finley and also a straw purchase of a weapon, which Finley bought for the informant.
FBI Special Agent Donald Cooley testified during the detention hearing Friday at the U.S. District Court in Hammond that when Finley was arrested, he had a loaded gun on him and two other loaded guns — a shotgun and an AR-15 — in the back of his car. Police also found about 14 grams of cocaine on Finley and in the car.
When they searched his home at 4010 W. 73rd Ave., they discovered several scales and numerous plastic bags, all signs of distribution of cocaine, Cooley said. Officials also found steroids in a safe, although Cooley said under cross-examination that he did not know if Finley had a prescription for the steroids.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell argued that Finley be held pending his trial, saying the evidence against Finley is “overwhelming.” Bell said that officials have audio and video recordings of all the transactions listed in the affidavit. He also estimated that the total amount of drugs found in connection with the case is about 35 grams.
He also argued the evidence in Finley’s house shows that although he is not a big-time drug dealer, he also isn’t new to it.
“He clearly knew what he was doing,” Bell said.
However, Ashwin Cattamanchi, Finley’s attorney, said that Finley could move into his in-law’s home with his wife and that Finley, who is the father of six children, has strong ties to the area.
He also said the government had no evidence Finley ever fired or brandished his guns during any drug transactions.
Along with the bond, Rodovich ordered that Finley must wear an electronic monitoring device. Finley will not be released until the monitoring equipment is installed, which will not be until next week.
Finley still has not been officially charged in the case, and an indictment will likely not come for about two weeks. Bell said a grand jury would hear the evidence the first week of September. Along with the cocaine distribution and straw purchase gun charge, the government will seek to charge Finley with using a gun during a drug transaction, Bell said. That carries a minimum of five years in prison. The maximum sentence Finley faces on the other two charges is 20 years.
It isn’t clear what will happen with Finley’s position at the Gary Police Department. Chief Wade Ingram has said he would seek Finley’s termination if he is convicted. Cattamanchi said during the hearing that Finley would actively look for a job in construction if he was released on bond.