One of the two former police officers indicted by federal authorities last week once testified before a federal grand jury about a badge-selling scheme operated out of the Perry Township Constable's Office.You may recall that Houchins dropped dead outside a southside bar just days before he was scheduled to go on trial for federal corruption charges in connection with the badge-selling scheme. Police say Houchins appeared to have suffered a blow to his head when he supposedly fell after leaving the bar because he wasn't feeling well. An autopsy failed to determine his cause of death. A deputy in his office, Michael Sherfick, pleaded guilty to charges of accepting $30,000 in bribes for handing out deputy constable badges. Another deputy constable in the office who also worked for former Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, Dan Constantino, was later charged by a special prosecutor with corrupt business influence, forgery and official misconduct. Constantino was accused of using his police powers to sign off on law enforcement vehicle inspection forms for three stolen vehicles. Constantino, according to McQuaid, was suspected of playing a role in removing guns that had been seized by IMPD in domestic disputes from the property control room on behalf of the constable's office.
In November of 2007 John Smith told Fox59 News that he paid Constable Roy Houchins $1000 to join the constable’s office and receive a badge and policing powers. Houchins denied the payoff ever took place . . .
Smith later testified before a federal grand jury investigating the badge-selling operation. Now he’s in jail, awaiting a hearing in federal court in Hammond Tuesday . . .
Smith told Fox 59 in May of 2008 that the night before he testified in front of the grand jury his Mercedes Benz was vandalized in his eastside tow yard. That case was never solved, and neither was an arson that caused $50,000 damage to Smith’s property some months before.
As for the latest federal charges against Smith and Carlyle, McQuaid reports they "are accused of attempting to deal and possess at least five kilograms of cocaine and carrying weapons while doing it." "Smith is also accused of transferring a firearm that would be used in the drug deal," McQuaid said. What is particularly interesting is McQuaid's report that Smith's property had been raided by IMPD just weeks before Houchins dropped dead. "In February of 2010, IMPD and Marion County Grand Jury investigators raided Smith’s garage at JDS Towing and Smith’s home," McQuaid reported. "They reportedly seized business records and drugs." Curiously, those charges were dropped before the federal investigation of Smith and Carlyle was launched according to McQuaid. "Smith also was owner of Elite Services, a security firm," McQuaid said. "He served on various central Indiana police departments and has been investigated for impersonating a police officer in the past."