Galveston police officer accused of helping drug dealers evade investigators, department says 

GALVESTON, Texas — The Galveston Police Department was forced to arrest one of its officers Friday morning after the suspect was accused of working with an alleged drug dealer as part of an illegal narcotics crime ring.

John Rutherford has been charged with engaging organized criminal activity among other felonies.

John Rutherford is charged with engaging organized criminal activity, misuse of official information, and tampering with physical evidence. Investigators said the suspect played an integral role in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.

Rutherford is being held on $750,000 bond. He has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, according to the police department.

Police were conducting an unrelated narcotics investigation into Salvador Rivera, 32, several months ago when detectives were informed the Rivera was working with an GPD officer, according to the department. The officer was recently identified as Rutherford.

Investigators said the former officer provided Rivera with protected and classified information concerning officer’s locations, movement patterns, and work assignments in an effort to allow criminals to continue to operate without being intercepted by police.

On Friday, FBI SWAT crews arrested Rivera during raid in the 5600 block of Lafitte Street. Meanwhile, Rutherford was placed into custody at the justice center.

The department had been working closely with the FBI, DEA and Galveston County District’s Attorney’s Office to catch Rutherford and Rivera.

“We realize the community may feel betrayed by someone sworn to protect them; I can assure you that you are not alone, Cheif Vernon Hale said. “The men and women of the Galveston Police Department share in this disappointment.  Galveston Island however; should be proud of our department.  This investigation was initiated, conducted, concluded, and the arrest made by Galveston Police Officers who were betrayed by one of their own. The officers and agents involved knew their community deserved better, and that this person, officer or not, must be brought to justice.”

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