DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police destroyed key evidence in a major drug case and now there’s an internal investigation after CBS4 inquired about it.
The cocaine was going to be evidence in the upcoming trial of convicted murderer Brian Hicks. Police admitted they got rid of cocaine by mistake. Now Hicks’ attorney wants the drug charges thrown out.
Hicks is now awaiting trial in federal court on conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The evidence in his case was being kept at the Denver Police Property Management Bureau for safekeeping. But CBS4 learned four kilograms of cocaine with a street value well over $100,000 was destroyed by mistake.
“If an error was made, then we made an error, but this is not something that’s intentional; this is not something that happens routinely,” Matthew Murray with Denver police said.
CBS4 has obtained a report written by an investigator for the Metro Gang Task Force regarding the destruction of the cocaine. In it the property room sergeant, John Zak, said he didn’t realize there was another case pending and failed to contact the detective involved before destroying the cocaine noting “the system of contacting the assigned detectives is a waste of time” and added he wanted to “convey his deepest apology regarding the destruction of the four kilograms of cocaine.”
“Does something happen on occasion? Do mistakes get made there? Absolutely, there’s no question. We have half a million items in the property bureau. There’s a lot going on,” Murray said.
Hicks is well known to law enforcement. He was convicted in the murder of Kalonnian Clark, who was to testify against him. His car was used in the killing of Denver Bronco Darrent Williams, though Hicks was in jail at the time. His lawyer now wants the federal drug charges thrown out because the evidence has been destroyed.
Hicks’ attorney maintains the evidence was intentionally destroyed knowing it was important to the prosecution. Denver police acknowledge proper procedures were not followed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting Hicks on the drug charges. The office would not comment on the destroyed evidence.