Former Ohio Cop Admits to Stealing Cocaine from Crime Scene


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Columbus police officer John Castillo, 31, of Grove City, has pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine in federal court Wednesday morning. The plea change comes after Castillo was arrested in February and accused of stealing drugs from evidence rooms and investigation scenes, as well as passing off narcotics to another person to be sold.

According to the indictment, Castillo took approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine from a home on North Everett Avenue in east Columbus during an investigation, but did not enter the drugs as evidence. He then planted two of the kilograms at the Broadleigh neighborhood home and took the rest to be sold by another person. Co-conspirator and former police officer Joel Mefford, who also pleaded not guilty in February, is still expected to go to trial and faces additional charges of money laundering and possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Castillo joined the Columbus Police Department in June 2019 and gained high marks in performance reviews. He was a member of the department’s drug cartel unit as of June 2021. Brian Steel, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge No. 9, said Castillo is no longer a member of the local police union. “John Castillo’s crimes are a black eye to the central Ohio law enforcement community and do not represent the values of the (FOP),” he said. A sentencing hearing for Castillo will be scheduled at a later date, with the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.

Adam Conn
Adam Conn
Sports Reporter. Adam is a sports journalist with 19-plus years of experience in print and broadcast media.

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