Local News

Court Documents Detail Allegations Against 3 Former Durham Deputies

Posted October 17, 2006

— New details are emerging about what led investigators to a nightclub owned by a Durham County sheriff's deputy and resulted in the termination of three deputies from the department.

The La Zona Club's owner, Michael Owens, now faces multiple charges, including drug trafficking, and was fired from the Durham County Sheriff's Office on Monday. Two other deputies -- Brad King and Keith Dodson -- also lost their jobs for working as security officers at the club. The three were suspended last weekend following a Friday night raid of the club.

La Zona Search Warrants

According to investigators, Durham County sheriff detectives got wind of alleged illegal activity at La Zona in August. A confidential informant told investigators that Owens bought $40,000 of counterfeit money, said court documents. The documents also show the deputy traveled to Atlanta to pick up the bogus bills.

Detectives said that they used informants to buy drugs at the bar. Court papers show they bought cocaine and marijuana in the back room and bathrooms of the club.

One informant also told deputies he was told at the club that he could pay $200 for a date. According to the court documents, the informant also bought 3.5 grams of cocaine about 30 feet from the front door where the two off-duty officers were working.

Owens had been a deputy for three years, while King and Dodson had each been with the Durham County Sheriff's Office for seven years, said Sheriff Worth Hill. Dodson was a member of the department's anti-gang unit.

Hill said Monday he is reviewing departmental policies and might forbid deputies from working off-duty security jobs at area nightclubs.

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