AP NEWS

Lawyers eye cases brought by disbanded Georgia drug squad

April 7, 2019

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Prosecutors and public defenders say they’re working together to figure out how many court cases might have been tainted by the actions of a now-disbanded coastal Georgia drug squad.

Glynn County Police Chief John Powell disbanded the anti-narcotics squad serving his county and Brunswick last month, replacing it with a countywide criminal investigations unit.

The News of Brunswick reports testimony last week detailed how the girlfriend of a confidential informant confronted Detective James Cassada and yelled about him having sex with the informant. The incident happened while officers were working undercover in a bar, forcing them to leave. Cassada is also accused of improperly quashing a warrant against a second woman because he was having sex with her, saying it would cause problems in Cassada’s marriage. Cassada resigned this year after an internal investigation began.

Glynn County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Lawson testified that the squad backed off a man later convicted of felony drug charges because he was a friend of investigator Dustin Simpson. In a second incident, Simpson told a bar manager it was OK that his friend was carrying a gun, even though the friend was a convicted felon and couldn’t legally carry a gun.

The probe also found that Capt. David Hassler provided conflicting statements during the investigation.

Task force officers are also accused of working outside Glynn County, where Brunswick police officers have no official powers and sheriff’s deputies usually check in with local agencies to prevent risks.

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Information from: The News, http://www.thebrunswicknews.com

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