Bring Me "The Motherload": Alorton Mayor Guilty of Directing Police Officer to Steal Money and Drugs
The former mayor for the Village of Alorton pled guilty in US District Court on February 24, 2012, to a four-count Information, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Randy McCallum, Sr., 44, was charged with Attempted Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (crack cocaine), Theft or Conversion of Government Property, Attempting to Smuggle Contraband into a Correctional Facility that Houses Inmates Pursuant to an Agreement with the Attorney General, and Making False Statements to Federal Law Enforcement Officers. This prosecution is part of an on-going investigation into public corruption in the Metro-east area.
The charges allege that an Alorton police officer who was working in an undercover capacity with federal authorities was approached by Alorton officials and advised to use his position as a police officer to “pull some licks,” meaning to steal money and drugs from arrestees. The charges specifically allege that McCallum told the officer, when you get the “motherload,” bring it to me.
Based upon that information, the Illinois State Police provided an undercover officer from another geographic location to participate in a sting operation on June 15, 2011. Agents surveilled McCallum and verified his location. Then, the undercover ISP officer drove just past the building where McCallum was known to be present. At that time, the Alorton officer activated his/her emergency lights and conducted an entirely staged traffic stop. McCallum came outside the building and watched the traffic stop, where the officer placed the driver in handcuffs, searched him, seized evidence, and then subsequently released the driver with no charges.
McCallum called the officer immediately after the traffic stop ended and asked what happened. In a recorded conversation, the officer told McCallum that the vehicle smelled of marijuana and that the driver claimed to be from the Chicago area. Additionally, the officer said that the driver admitted to being wanted on warrants, and that the driver begged him/her not to take him to jail, asking the officer to just keep the money seized from the driver’s pockets in return for not arresting him. The officer showed McCallum $2,060 of United States currency, and McCallum asked if they could split the money. They shared the money and McCallum used a portion to make personal purchases the next day.
On July 19, 2011, the undercover officer approached McCallum and showed him $470 and 13 grams of an off-white chunky substance that was made to resemble crack cocaine. McCallum asked the officer where it came from, and the officer responded that it had been seized during a traffic stop of a Missouri resident who was driving through an Alorton public housing project. The officer stated that he/she took the money and drugs but let the driver go. McCallum took $200 and all of the drugs. McCallum advised that he would get the drugs on the street by Friday; and that he would pay the officer $100 after it was sold. In reality, the substance was not actually crack cocaine but was a look-alike substance that was created by federal agents for the purpose of conducting the sting. McCallum called the officer in the early morning hours of the next day to complain that he had given the substance to an individual but that it would not burn.
On September 20, 2011, federal agents met with Mayor McCallum for the purpose of interviewing him about acts of public corruption occurring within the Village of Alorton. After questioning McCallum about unrelated acts of misconduct, federal agents questioned McCallum about whether he had any knowledge of any police officers taking money or drugs while on duty. McCallum falsely stated that he was unaware of any officers taking money or drugs from individuals.
In addition to being employed as a Village of Alorton police officer, the undercover officer was also employed as a full-time correctional officer in the St. Clair County Jail. During the time period of April-May, 2011, Former Mayor McCallum had conversations with the officer about his/her willingness to bring items into the jail for an inmate. The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department agreed to cooperate in the investigation, and during April – August, 2011, McCallum provided food and cigarettes to a particular inmate on a number of occasions. On December 12, 2011, while located in the Mayor’s home, Randy McCallum, Sr. gave the officer a pack of cigarettes and a “blunt” (a cigar filled with marijuana) to smuggle into the St. Clair County Jail for an inmate.
On January 7, 2012, federal agents served search warrants at Alorton Village Hall as well as at McCallum’s home. When interviewed, McCallum denied wrongdoing and told the media that he was “clean as a whistle.”
US Attorney Wigginton said, “it is unimaginable that a sitting mayor would attempt to introduce cocaine into the very community he has sworn to protect.” Wigginton said that he has dedicated additional staff and resources to further his campaign against public corruption, stating “I will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of those who pervert the administration of justice by using public office for their own personal gain. I know there are other elected officials or sworn officers who are engaging in kickbacks, bribes and ‘pay to play’ tactics. I warn those persons, here and now: we are coming for you.”
The crime of Attempted Possession with the Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance (crack cocaine), is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and at least 3 years’ supervised release upon release from prison. The crime of Theft or Conversion of Government Property is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 3 years’ supervised release upon release from prison. The crimes of Attempting to Smuggle Contraband into a Correctional Facility that Houses Inmates Pursuant to an Agreement with the Attorney General and Making False Statements to Federal Law Enforcement Officers are punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and not more than 3 years’ supervised release upon release from prison. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 24, 2012.
The investigation was conducted through the Metro East Public Corruption Task Force by agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the Illinois State Police, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven D. Weinhoeft and Norman R. Smith.