Gary cop arrested in drug sting
by Lori Caldwell firstname.lastname@example.org | 648-3258 August 14, 2012 5:54PM
Updated: September 16, 2012 6:18AM
GARY — A federal undercover operation into alleged drug sales by a Gary police officer concluded Tuesday when FBI agents arrested David B. Finley, 31, near his Merrillville home.
“We moved quickly on this case,” FBI Special Supervisory Agent Bob Ramsey said an hour after members of the FBI-led Gang Response Investigative Team arrested Finley outside the Dawg House, a bar on U.S. 30 near Whitcomb Street.
Finley appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich and was remanded into custody. A probable cause and detention hearing is set for 2:15 p.m. Friday.
“We absolutely will ask to have him detained,” Ramsey said.
The FBI, with the cooperation of the Gary Police Department, launched an investigation about the same time Finley crashed his car early July 21 on Interstate 94 and appeared intoxicated.
He was not arrested at the scene, but Gary Chief Wade Ingram said his internal affairs division was reviewing the matter.
Finley was ordered to take a drug test Aug. 1, the same day the Post-Tribune published a story about the crash.
Rumors of Finley’s involvement in drug activity circulated through the department for weeks, then escalated after co-workers learned he struck a highway barrier about 1 a.m. outside city limits.
Ramsey said agents sent a confidential informant to buy cocaine from Finley during the course of the investigation.
On Tuesday, GRIT members watched as the informant met Finley at the agreed location, just blocks from Finley’s apartment on 73rd Avenue near Whitcomb Street.
Finley is also accused of making an illegal “straw” gun purchase, buying a gun for someone who did not qualify.
“He even used his police identification to get a discount,” a source said.
Ingram said he will seek Finley’s termination from the department after he is convicted of the charges. “The vast majority of the men and women of the Gary Police Department are honest and hardworking people. This arrest should be a reminder to any officer who decides to cross the line and break the law that they will be arrested and prosecuted,” Ingram said, adding he was “saddened” by the arrest.
Finley was hired at the same time as former officer Laron Leslie, fired earlier this year after he tested positive for marijuana after crashing his take-home car while off duty.
Both men were hired under then-Chief Reggie Harris and former Mayor Rudy Clay. Clay and the City Council created an ordinance allowing the chief to hire any candidate on the eligibility list. Previously, police were hired based on results of a battery of tests.
Most police hires since are mostly Gary residents. The most recent group included several with connections to city officials.