Sheriff’s officer admits stealing drugs from evidence locker

A suspended detective-sergeant of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department andformer Haledon Borough council member pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute cocaine and some heroin he stole from the evidence vault at the Sheriff’s Department, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr.

Alan Souto, 40, admitted before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares that he received at least $250,000 from the sale of the drugs, which he told the judge was at least 43 kilograms (94.6 pounds) of cocaine and 700 grams of heroin.

Marrasaid Souto pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information, charging him with conspiracy to distribute, and possession with intent to distribute,five kilograms or more of cocaine.

"Souto is free on a $300,000 secured bond pending sentencing scheduled for March 10,"Marra said. "This is a disturbing crime on several levels, not the least of which is the fact that Souto was a ranking law enforcement officer and elected local official while he was doing this.

"He was also conspiring with numerous other individuals," the Acting U.S. Attorney added."We will continue an aggressive investigation and prosecution of the matter.”

At his plea hearing, Souto admitted that beginning in about August 2007, he repeatedly stole multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from the Sheriff’s Department evidence vault and arranged for the delivery of the cocaine to other co-conspirators’ who, in turn, would arrange for distribution of the narcotics in Passaic County and elsewhere.

He was first arrested in March on charges brought by the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Sheriff’s officer admits stealing drugs from evidence locker