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Grand Jury Uncovers Web of Hartford Police Corruption

December 1, 1993 GMT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A city policeman and a former state trooper have been arrested on corruption charges alleging they stole narcotics and money from drug dealers, authorities said today.

The grand jury said other Hartford police officers were involved but it needed more time to investigate the extent of corruption within the department.

″Within this nucleus of police officers, the evidence disclosed an egregious neglect of duty,″ Superior Court Judge Arthur L. Spada, acting as a one-man grand jury, said in his report.

″This neglect is publicly exhibited without concern for discipline or sanction.″

The grand jury also alleged that the two arrested officers failed to halt organized illegal cockfights and permitted the training and fighting of pit bull dogs at a park next to an elementary school in Hartford.

They and six other people were arrested Tuesday night, Hartford State’s Attorney James Thomas said.

Former state Trooper Ramon Valentin, who was fired in 1992, and Hartford police Sgt. Jose Morales, who worked with Valentin on a statewide narcotics task force, were indicted on 14 charges included burglary, racketeering, conspiracy, kidnapping and selling drugs.

Valentin and Morales committed at least four burglaries against drug dealers that netted them drugs, money and other items worth more than $200,000, the grand jury said.

A Corvette and a Cadillac were stolen in one robbery, the grand jury said. Valentin drove the Cadillac for several months, while Morales kept the Corvette at his house and occasionally drove it to work at the Hartford Police Department, parking it in the visitor’s lot, the grand jury said.

The six others were arrested on charges including perjury, larceny, burglary, contempt and witness tampering.

It could not immediately be determined what roles the six other defendants played in the alleged corruption.

The state Judicial Department had announced in February that a grand jury was investigating allegations that police officers stole drugs and money from drug dealers.

The grand jury probe grew from an investigation that began in the Hartford Police Department in 1990.