Narcotics police in Odessa, Texas, were the unlikely subjects of an online reality show called Kop Busters that aims to expose police corruption.
The show crew set up a fake drug den in an empty house with indoor-gardening equipment typically used to cultivate marijuana, but instead growing a pair of Christmas tree saplings.
The video on the program’s site shows a group of police entering the house, then discovering the decoy Christmas trees — along with a message taped to the wall, informing officers that they were being recorded and asserting that their search warrant was illegally obtained without probable cause.
The origins of the project date back to 2005, when an Odessa woman named Yolanda Madden was arrested and found guilty of methamphetamine possession with intent to sell.
During her court trial, however, a police informant testified that he was asked by the Odessa narcotics department to plant the drugs on her, but that he unknowingly planted the drugs on the wrong woman.
Madden pleaded innocent, passing both urine and hair follicle tests. Both she and the informant passed polygraph tests, but Madden was found guilty and sentenced to prison for eight years.
Her father asked the Kop Busters to come expose the cops, saying her evidence was ignored to protect the narcotics squad.
Barry Cooper, founder of Kop Busters and a disgruntled former police officer, said the Odessa police department refused to show their warrant even though the search was captured on film.
“Trap springs on corrupt cops in Odessa, Texas”
Examiner.com, December 6, 2008
“Setting up the vice cops”
Scienceblog.com, December 10, 2008