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Suspected drug-running HPD officer wishes he'd remained silent

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He had been trained on reading people their rights.

But when Houston Police Sgt. Leslie Aikens was arrested on charges of protecting a drug shipment in his patrol car, he apparently talked too much when FBI agents read those rights to him.

He even put it in writing.

Aikens was quickly relieved of duty by HPD when he was arrested on July 27th, charged with taking a $2,000 bribe to protect a shipment of 7-kilos of cocaine.

In newly filed court papers, prosecutors spell out that he,

Escorted seven kilograms of cocaine from a gas station on Highway 6 in his official houston Police Department vehicle.

Despite his $55,000 annual HPD salary, a public defender was appointed to represent Sgt. Aikens. That lawyer filed a motion asking a judge to throw out everything that Aikens said to the arresting agents. He writes,

There can be little doubt that the purpose of the questioning conducted was to elicit an incriminating response.

His filing said he was questioned before his rights were read to him, and since he was in custody, the defense lawyer wrote that it met the legal threshhold for "significant deprivation of freedom." That thresshold sometimes allows for statements to be thrown out if a person utters them while in jail or being held for long periods of time in unusual circumstances.

Prosecutors assigned to the case have filed a motion, saying Aikens was

Detained for a short period of time during his initial processing and given an opportunity to cooperate with the United States. Officer Aikens was advised of his warnings under Miranda....and Officer Aikens provided a voluntary, written statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The defendant did not ask for an attorney or ask to terminate the interview.

The Houston US Attorney's office also reveals in the latest court filings that the FBI recorded several phone calls with Sgt. Aikens where arrangements were made for him to take money for the drug shipment escort.

The actual escort was recorded on video by undercover FBI agents, as was the "payoff to Officer Aikens," according to the filing from prosecutors.

At his first court appearance, where he fidgeted with his fingers as his hands were clasped behind his back, Sgt. Aikens said he expects to be fired from HPD.

At the moment, he remains relieved of duty with pay.

Some on the department wonder why he was still wearing a badge to begin with.

Fellow HPD officers said a review of the department's Internal Affairs history file shows Sgt. Aikens has been suspended from duty without pay for a total of 87-days, which is a ridiculously high number.

Most officers are terminated after a few suspensions because they are seen as problem officers.

Suspensions without pay are levied only after Internal Affairs investigations are completed and wrongdoing has been confirmed by the department. It was unclear how many sustained violations of departmental rules accounted for that 87-days worth of suspensions, and it was unclear if he had overturned any of those suspensions by filing appeals.

One HPD supervisor pointed out that Aikens was promoted to the rank of sergeant within the past year or so, despite the lengthy list of violations of police department policy.

Trial is scheduled on the federal corruption and drug trafficking charges on Monday, but that date is likely to be delayed.

If he's found guilty, he could get 30-years in federal prison with no shot at parole.

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