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Press Release

Former Columbus police officer pleads guilty to stealing, selling cocaine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Castillo, 31, of Grove City, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

According to court documents, Castillo was a Columbus police officer assigned to investigate drug crimes. In February 2021, he conspired with another officer to steal and sell approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine. Castillo and the other officer took approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine from a house on North Everett Avenue and did not turn it into evidence. They planted two additional kilograms of cocaine for law enforcement discovery later that day at the house. The 10 kilograms of cocaine were stored in the other officer’s basement before they were given to another individual to sell.

Possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine is punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Elena Iatarola, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the plea entered before U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr.

Assistant United States Attorneys Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and Elizabeth A. Geraghty are representing the United States in this case.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Southern Ohio Public Corruption Task Force, which includes special agents and officers from the FBI, Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office and the Columbus Division of Police.

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Updated June 12, 2024

Drug Trafficking