Taxpayers paying price for blown drug investigation

WESTLAKE, Ohio - An undercover drug investigation involving a towing lot attendant was blown, and taxpayers are paying the price, Tom Meyer, The Investigator, reported.

Police used an expensive GPS tracking device to monitor Lavell Hill -- a convicted drug felon and the target of a major drug-peddling investigation.

"A GPS satellite tracking device was placed on his vehicle pursuant to a search warrant, and it was removed and damaged," Westlake Police Capt. Guy Turner said.

Thieves really screwed things up for both police and taxpayers. First, a major drug investigation was blown, and second, the sacrificed tracking device costs approximately $6,500.

Police had been following the car before it was impounded at a towing lot on Quigley Road in Cleveland.

Police said that Derick Brumfield, a towing lot attendant, learned of the tracking device and tipped off Hill.

"He just offered his unsolicited information that this device was attached to the suspect's vehicle, and things went downhill from there," Turner said.

Why tip off the suspect? The Investigator went looking to find Brumfield for answers. Police and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said that Brumfield was the key to botching a major drug investigation.

"They were getting ready to move in on Hill until these events transpired," Mason said.

The towing lot has not yet taken any action against Brumfield. He remains on the payroll, pending the outcome of his criminal proceedings.

Both Brumfield and Hill have been indicted on felony charges. If convicted, Brumfield could get more than three years behind bars, while Hill could get in excess of a year.