US Marijuana Party

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Planted drugs may be key to man's release

By Matt Birkbeck
Allentown Morning Call

PA - Drugs planted by two former Panther Valley police officers and used as evidence to send a Coaldale man to prison could be used to set him free after a Schuylkill County judge questioned whether prosecutors knew of the officers' actions before he accepted a guilty plea.

Judge Jacqueline Russell raised her concerns at a hearing Friday for George Becker, 45, who was arrested March 18, 2003, after cocaine and heroin were found in his home during a police raid.

Becker, a reputed low-level drug dealer, later was convicted and sentenced to 21/2 to six years in state prison.

But the officers involved in his arrest — former Lansford Patrolman Jeremy Sommers and former Coaldale Patrolman Michael Weaver — in 2004 were indicted by federal authorities on charges of planting the evidence found in Becker's home.

Sommers and Weaver pleaded guilty to violating Becker's civil rights. They were fired from their jobs and are awaiting sentencing.


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