By Charles Sercombe
A former Hamtramck narcotics police officer is facing a maximum of five years in prison after pleading guilty to tipping off a suspect under FBI investigation that his phone was being tapped.
Randall Hutchinson, 45, was a Hamtramck police officer assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force when he told the leader of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club that he was likely being wiretapped.
“Disclosing a wiretap investigation not only violates the law, it also betrays an officer’s duty to the mission of seeking justice,” said United States Attorney Barbara McQuade in a recent press release. “We have no tolerance for that sort of betrayal.”
The FBI was investigating the outlaw motorcycle club in 2005-2006. As a result of that investigation, over 90 members of the club and their associates were indicted for numerous criminal activities.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, Hutchinson met the leader of the club at a gym where they both worked out. They also both spoke on the telephone about the wiretap.
It’s not clear why Hutchinson was an acquaintance of the club leader. However, there was local speculation that Hutchinson was taking steroids. He had noticeably beefed up prior to the investigation and as a sideline, he performed as a wrestler.
A raid at the club leader’s house turned up illegal steroids and growth hormones.
Hutchinson’s subsequent arrest had ramifications for Hamtramck. For several years the city enjoyed a special relationship with the DEA. The department was invited to assign an officer to a special task force.
That assignment proved to be lucrative for Hamtramck’s Police Department. The city was able to share in money captured from drug raids. The fund eventually soared to over $1 million.
After Hutchinson’s arrest, the city was booted out of the task force, but was eventually invited back.