DENVER - Moments after a veteran Littleton police officer paid $1,300 for hallucinogenic "Ecstasy" pills and powder from an informant who came to his Parker home Friday, FBI agents raided Jeffery Allan Johnston's house and arrested the 22-year veteran of the Littleton Police Department, according to court records.
Johnston closed the deal for 10 grams of Ecstasy -- also known as MDMA or "X" -- in the form of 37 pills and 6.3 grams of powder on a large granite island in the kitchen of his home, according to a federal arrest affidavit. The FBI says Johnston showed the informant -- a known drug trafficker -- how he used a Plexiglass-type sheet with drilled holes to fill caplets with powdered ecstasy.
After the money exchanged hands, a dozen FBI agents in SWAT gear entered the home, arrested Johnston and led him out into his front yard wearing a tank top, shorts and handcuffs, a source told 7NEWS.
During a search of the home, FBI agents recovered the 10 grams of MDMA from a kitchen drawer next to the refrigerator, the affidavit said. They also seized a loaded stainless steel Colt Officers Model .45-caliber pistol along with suspected cocaine and suspected steroids, hundreds of a prescription pills and more guns, the affidavit said.
The 46-year-old Johnston was still wearing the tank top and shorts when he appeared in Denver federal court on Monday afternoon. He was advised that he faces charges of possession of MDMA with intent to distribute, maintaining drug-involved premises, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony. He currently is being held without bond.
Littleton Police Cmdr. Trent Cooper told 7NEWS the arrest "came as a total shock…Our reaction is disappointment, embarrassment, anger, sadness."
"Professionally, he was a model employee," Cooper said. Johnston did work in the narcotics division for a time, said Cooper. Most recently, Johnston worked as a motorcycle officer, conducting traffic enforcement and accident investigations. Cooper said he is the type of police officer who gets up in the middle of the night to investigate traffic accidents.
"You couldn't say anything bad about the guy. He was reliable, solid (and delivered) a good work product," Cooper said. Johnston is now on unpaid administrative leave.
The arrest came after Johnston called a friend on July 15 and left a voicemail message, asking if the friend was going to a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. Johnston said he wanted to "catch up" with the friend.
The FBI said the friend, who was the drug trafficker-turn-FBI-informant, had been invited to parties at Johnston's home on at least three prior occasions to "distribute narcotics to Johnston's friends," the affidavit said. The informant told the FBI he provided party goers with Ecstasy.
The next day, the friend called Johnston back -- this time the FBI was secretly recording the call.
During the call, Johnston and the informant used "CDs" -- as if they were talking about listening to music -- as a code word for MDMA pills, an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. Using the code, the FBI says Johnston asked if he could purchase between 40 and 50 Ecstasy pills from the dealer for between $15 to $20 each.
"You know some of, some of my friends that wanna... uh... listen to that music, too," Johnston said, according to the affidavit.
Johnston also told the informant that he'd recently received some "stuff" he wasn't happy with.
"There’s been some other stuff running around," Johnston said, "that we’ve had access and it’s just yucky…It’s missing a bunch of stuff. Ah, it’s missing the 'M' (laughing) in it," Johnston added.
"I know what you're talking about," the informant said. "Nah, this is legit."
Johnston asked, "Okay, have you tested it at all or 'cuz I have a test kit," according to the affidavit. The informant agreed that the officer could use his kit to test the drugs before they completed the deal.
Cooper, the Littleton police commander, said, "It's important for us to let the community know that Officer Johnston isn't representative of the Little Police Department or police anywhere."
The drug trafficking and maintaining drug-involved premises charges each carry maximum penalties of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.
The charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and the charge of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $500,000 fine.