Friday, July 5, 1996
Alleged plot to murder Irvin surfaced during
police corruption probe
By Associated Press
(July 5, 1996)
DALLAS (AP) - An officer accused of making a down-payment
to have Cowboys star Michael Irvin killed turned first to a man
trusted by several officers who were under investigation for
The Dallas Morning News reported in a copyright story Thursday
that the man was an informant who tipped off police about the
incident and put officer Johnnie Hernandez in touch with the
"hit man," an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration
Sources told the newspaper that the corruption investigation
was being made into allegations that several police officers
were suspected of providing protection for cocaine dealers.
The DEA and Dallas police began investigating the allegations
months before the March 4 incident at an Irving hotel that led
to drug charges against Irvin. Police say the investigation is
Frank Perez, Hernandez's attorney, said he doesn't know about
the police corruption investigation or his client's possible
"I don't know anything about that," Perez said. "As
far as I know, they told me no other officers were being investigated.
I just can't believe that's accurate."
Police allege Hernandez paid the "hit man" about 10
percent of a $30,000 contract to have the Cowboys wide receiver
killed. He resigned after his arrest last Thursday and remains
jailed on a charge of solicitation of capital murder and an unrelated
Sources say Hernandez wanted to kill Irvin because the football
player had threatened his girlfriend, Rachelle Marie Smith, a
topless dancer who is to testify against Irvin in the trial.
Hernandez is also a potential witness.
A gag order issued by a Dallas judge has barred anyone involved
in the trial from discussing any issues surrounding the case,
including Hernandez's motive.
None of the officers or other people under investigation include
Dallas Cowboys players, topless dancers or others involved in
the Irvin drug case, sources said.
Executive Assistant Chief Willard Rollins, who oversees the Dallas
Police Department's public integrity unit, confirmed Wednesday
that the arrest came about during an investigation into possible
Rollins declined to comment on specifics of the allegations,
saying the investigation is not over.
The murder-for-hire plot "fell in our laps," Chief
Rollins said. "And we acted on the information."
Rollins said Hernandez's arrest has damaged but not halted the
"We're still continuing to investigate here," he said.
"If we develop any information that anyone has violated
the law, we will take action."
Rollins stressed that authorities have not uncovered a widespread
criminal conspiracy involving the Dallas department.
Aside from Hernandez, he said, "we have no criminal charges
against any member of the department" in connection to the
Sources said few details of the inquiry were disclosed because
authorities still hope to salvage it despite the damage done
by the arrest of Hernandez.
Sources said the alleged corruption took a variety of forms,
including the possibility that officers took cash from drug dealers.
Hernandez was not initially a target of the investigation but
had been associating with the officers and others who were, sources
The investigation has targeted about half a dozen officers and
an assortment of their acquaintances, including known drug traffickers
and other criminals, the sources said. Police Department policy
forbids officers to consort with known lawbreakers.
Hernandez is being held at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in
lieu of $252,000 bail.
Perez will ask a judge to lower the bail at a hearing Monday.
He also said he hopes to learn more about the alleged murder-for-hire
plot at the hearing.
All content copyright 1996, AP, The Abilene
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