The Arlington officer fired amid a federal investigation into the use of steroids inside the police department pled guilty Tuesday morning to tipping off a dealer using information from confidential law enforcement databases.
Thomas Kantzos, 45, was indicted on a charge of exceeding access to a protected computer. He faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Feb. 12, 2014. He remains held on bond.
In June, Ofc. David Vo killed himself near his home on Park Run Drive. He’d been arrested the previous weekend and released pending charges. Soon, investigators announced he was part of an investigation into three officers who allegedly bought and distributed anabolic steroids for themselves and others within the department.
Kantzos, a 17-year veteran, was also part of that same investigation. The feds alleged that his dealer was a cooperating witness and Kantzos had been tipping him off with information gleaned from a pair of databases accessible only to law enforcement.
The federal complaint says he left a long trail of digital evidence, including text messages requesting illegal steroids and search histories on the law enforcement databases. The feds alleged that Kantzos was buying the drugs from the dealer for the past five to six years.
In January, the dealer was arrested and cut a deal with investigators. He told them about the time in the waning months of 2011, when he saw a man in a truck parked on his street gazing at a laptop. He got the license plate number and had Kantzos run it. Sure enough, the complaint says, it was registered to a police officer on a drug task force.
Soon, the dealer searched his own car and found a tracking device. Kantzos continued to use the Texas Crime Information Center and the National Crime Information Center databases, providing his dealer with information on at least four additional vehicles.
The feds were watching; the last database search occurred on April 23. Kantzos was arrested on June 11.
“Kantzos admits he knew the use of this computer for this purpose exceeded authorized use,” writes U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana of the Northern District of Texas. “After Kantzos obtained the information about the vehicle, he relayed the information to Person A to help Person A avoid arrest, apprehension or disruption while Person A unlawfully trafficked in the anabolic steroids.”
The case was a joint effort between the FBI and the Texas Rangers.
The investigation prompted Arlington police higher ups to bolster the department’s drug testing policy. It’s since been expanded to include all officers, not just those who worked undercover or had been promoted. Department spokeswoman Tiara Richard said funding for expanding that policy was approved for this fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.
"Random drug testing, including steroids, is part of the department's standards now," she said.