A former police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton faces sentencing in July after pleading guilty to taking a $5,000 bribe.
The U.S. Attorney's office in St. Louis says 38-year-old Scott William Haenel of O'Fallon also admitted obstructing a federal investigation in his guilty plea on Wednesday.
Federal authorities say a person cooperating with the FBI met several times with Haenel between November and January and paid him $5,000. In exchange, Haenel agreed to help conceal a money laundering scheme involving drug trafficking money.
The use of heroin in the St. Louis area is at epidemic levels, according to law enforcement officials.
The number of heroin overdoses and deaths has doubled in the St. Louis County and city over the past four years. St. Louis County Chief of Police Tim Fitch said the drug is cheaper now and it can be snorted or smoked, instead of injected. He said it's no longer just an urban issue.
The battle over who will control the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has entered the theater of the courtroom.
Legislative efforts to give the city's Board of Aldermen direct oversight of the department have stalled. (It's currently governed by a five-member board, four of whom are gubernatorial appointees. The mayor is always the fifth).