Defendant on Ten Most Wanted List Extradited from Canada to the United States to Face Drug Trafficking Charges
A Detective with the Highland Park Police Department and her co-conspirator were charged in a criminal complaint with distributing and conspiring to distribute fentanyl-laced heroin, Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin announced today.
Mohsin was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Tiffany Lipkovitch, 45, of Detroit, and Amber Bellamy, 38, of Detroit, stand charged with distribution and conspiring to distribute controlled substances. Lipkovitch is a detective with the Highland Park Police Department, where she has been a police officer since 2011. According to the complaint, federal agents recorded numerous calls and meetings between Lipkovitch and a confidential source about a drug transaction. Lipkovitch gave the source “samples” or “pictures” of the drugs that were available from her associate, Bellamy, explaining that one was “$80 a gram” and the others were $100 per gram. When Lipkovitch asked what they were diluting or “cuttin” the drugs with, the confidential source responded that people used “fentanyl.” This did not surprise Lipkovitch, who explained that Bellamy was getting “a package of fentanyl . . . from overseas.” Lipkovitch eventually introduced the confidential source to Bellamy, who sold the source 45 grams of a fentanyl / heroin mixture. The confidential source later met with Lipkovitch, who was on duty and in her police uniform, about the transaction, and gave her $300 for facilitating the drug deal.
Acting United States Attorney Mohsin stated, “These charges affirm our office’s commitment to hold all individuals accountable for the distribution of dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl.” And, “While the vast majority of our police officers work honorably and faithfully to protect and serve the citizens of this region, our office continues to prosecute those corrupt officers who put their own greed above the public good and abuse their position violate the law.”
Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp stated, “We do not condone this type of activity. The citizens of Highland Park have expectations, as they should, that law enforcement officers obey the laws they swore to enforce. Like anyone else in the community, if a person violates the law they should be brought to justice.”
DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin stated, “While the vast majority of law enforcement officers are honest and hardworking, this officer chose to push a deadly drug onto our streets in exchange for personal profit. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure these individuals are rooted out and brought to justice.”
"The arrests this morning by state and federal agents are an example of the law enforcement community's joint effort in prosecuting police officers that abuse their authority and abandon their oath to serve and protect our communities," said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters, Detroit Division of the FBI. "Today shows the commitment of law enforcement to root out police corruption and abuse of authority within its ranks. The officer's betrayal of her sworn duty should not diminish the exemplary work conducted every day by the men and women in law enforcement. This case is an example of the importance the criminal justice system places on prosecuting its own who have abused their positions of trust in dereliction of duty."
The South Oakland Narcotics Intelligence Consortium (SONIC) task force assisted in the investigation. SONIC is a task force of local police departments. The Michigan State Police will continue to provide resources to multi-agency task forces consisting of federal and local partners” stated Michigan State Police F/Lt. Michael Shaw, Second District Public Information Officer. “While any criminal activity is detrimental to our communities, it is far worse when the alleged suspect is a police officer.”
Upon conviction for a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 or 846, Lipkovitch and Bellmany face a maximum of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.
The case was investigated by the FBI Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force, in collaboration with the SONIC task force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Cares.