Phoenix Police Officer Charged With Shakin' Down Drug Dealers
|Phoenix Police Department|
|Now-former Phoenix police officer James Wren|
The Avondale Police Department contacted the Phoenix PD last week to say one of its officers, 23-year-old James Wren, of the Maryvale Precinct, was using traffic stops to steal money from drug dealers.
Avondale police got a tip from an informant who claimed he had conducted two "operations" with Wren where the informant would lead the officer to the cars of drug dealers after a deal had been made.
Wren, according to the informant, would then pull over the car and steal the money.
In one instance, according to court documents acquired by New Times, Wren pulled over a drug dealer, stole his money, and then threw his car keys into the desert before releasing him.
Last night around 10, Wren stopped somebody he thought was a drug dealer who had $40,000 in the car in the 6300 block of West McDowell Road.
The alleged drug dealer was actually an undercover Phoenix police officer.
According to police, over the course of the traffic stop, Wren became suspicious and let the driver go.
Wren then drove to the Estrella Mountain Precinct Station where he was arrested by Phoenix police.
The arrest came after Phoenix police made video and audio recordings of Wren and the Avondale informant discussing the previous thefts and arranging the one that ultimately led to his arrest.
Wren is on tape asking the informant details about the target of the heist, including whether the subject driving the car would be armed.
Wren was interviewed by police and admitted his involvement in all three incidents
(two in 2008 and the one last night). He was booked on one count each of the following crimes: suspicion of conspiracy, attempted money-laundering, attempted theft, and aiding a criminal syndicate.
Before his arrest, Wren submitted his resignation to the PPD.