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Source: Nia Noelle / Nia Noelle

Two Columbus police officers, Joel Mefford and John Castillo, have been arrested and charged with federal offenses, accused of stealing and selling multiple kilograms of cocaine. The charges include theft from evidence storage rooms and investigation scenes, as well as selling narcotics to another individual. Mefford, 34, allegedly stole 20 kilograms of cocaine from the police property room in April 2020. It is also reported that he deposited over $72,000 from the sales into his personal bank account. He is also accused of gaining unlawful access to a garage during an investigation, discovering and taking two kilograms of cocaine without a warrant.

In February and March 2020, Mefford is alleged to have taken multiple kilograms of cocaine from houses during drug-trafficking investigations. Castillo, 31, is accused of taking around 10 kilograms of cocaine from a home in February 2021 during an investigation, not submitting it as evidence, and planting two kilograms at the house to be discovered by law enforcement.

Both officers face federal charges for possessing with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, punishable by at least 10 years to life in prison. Mefford faces additional charges of money laundering and two counts of possessing with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

The arrests mark the first federal charges against Columbus police officers since 2023-2024. Mayor Andrew Ginther expressed disgust at the officers’ alleged actions, emphasizing the commitment to accountability and rebuilding trust between the police and the community. These indictments underscore ongoing efforts to address misconduct within the Columbus Police Department.



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Columbus Officers Face Charges for Cocaine Theft & Sale Scheme  was originally published on