NBC 10 I-Team Exclusive: Former cop, felon shares details of crimes
NBC 10 I-Team reporters Patricia Resende and Katie Davis sat down with Evan Speck, a former union president and officer with the Charlestown Police Department and now convicted felon, for an exclusive interview to ask him about his crimes of money laundering and distribution of steroids, unusual punishment and his future.
RESENDE: We’ve never seen anything like it. Sitting in the courtroom when Judge (William E. )Smith went through the conditions of this probation, what was your reaction?
SPECK: It’s different. I was in law enforcement for 12 years, I never heard of it. I still have people contacting me to this day. It’s something that I am thankful for. Thank God Judge Smith gave me another chance. He could have just locked me up. That would only ruin the course of my life.
RESENDE: What are you expecting? And are you afraid?
The only thing I’ve been told is I’ll be in segregation or in the hospital, not so much due to the status of me being a police officer but because I have to wear my bracelet. This (his home confinement monitor) cannot come off even when I’m in prison. It’s going to be rough. I’ll be locked down 23 out of 24 hours in a room by myself so it’s not socializing with other prisoners. Time will go slow.
I work all week, I go to school and I’m locked down on weekends…I don’t get a day off for a year –that’s the punishment.
I had plenty of people contact me to say I rather be locked up for an entire year in general population because people hang out, talk than be locked down …. locked in a box.
DAVIS: There are also going to be critics who will say they feel you got a lighter sentence because you are a police officer. How do you respond to that?
SPECK: I say look at the charges. People say you only got a break because you are a cop. No, if anything, I got it harder. Sentence may not look like it. It has everything to do with how I handled myself when the incident happened till the day (of the sentence). If it does happen to someone else I want to be an example of how to handle this with law enforcement. I took my own advice. You can do this the easy way or the hard way. I did everything I could in a positive nature from day one and that’s something the judge recognized. I think he’s giving me a break – and a second chance.
DAVIS: Take me back to that time when the raid happened. Now you are on other end, what was that like.
SPECK: I wasn’t even here, I was 1,500 miles away in another state. I was getting phone calls asking if everything was ok.
They said your garage is open. They have DEA jackets on. My heart sunk. I didn’t know what to do and I started pacing. I called my attorney. I called the agent, because they kept trying to call me, and told him I’d turn myself in.
KATIE: Is it something you feared would happen?
DAVIS: Why not?
SPECK: I took steps so I would never get caught. There was no way you could trace anything back to me. My name wasn’t on anything. I never did hand-to-hand transactions. Maybe I kind of used that in a sense, I used to work narcotics so I know how everything works. I knew how to back door everything. I was shocked and said, ‘how did this happen’?
DAVIS: What was it that allowed them to link you to the drugs
SPECK: They say eBay.
RESENDE: Do you want to elaborate on that? Were there any missteps?
SPECK: It was creative report writing 101. There was never anything that was purchased illegal. I think it had something to do with the lawsuit (Speck had sued Charlestown and the police department claiming he was discriminated against because he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
DAVIS: You feel there was retribution?
SPECK: Yeah. It’s easy for us to pull a subpoena on anyone. I could call right now and say I have information. The federal government they do have a lot of power, so – got me.
Putting the job on the line
DAVIS: A lot of people in Rhode Island are struggling and they might look at police officers and think that’s a great career with a good living – why would you jeopardize that?
SPECK: A lot of this pertains back to my lawsuit which I can’t get into because it’s still in court, but I was out of work for a year and half. I was $20,000 in debt. And they cut my pay, cut my health insurance. My health insurance was $1,000 a month. It was one of the hardest choices I had to make. Was it the right one? No, but I didn’t know what to do. I tried to take a leave of absence but they wouldn’t let me – they said it had to be police related. I didn’t know what to do. I had no money.
RESENDE: Clearly, you had enough experience in getting the business up and running – identifying the chemicals, identifying customers. You were an entrepreneur in some ways. Playing devil’s advocate, why not start another business – any kind of business – say selling candles.
SPECK: We can’t.
RESENDE: You couldn’t work under the circumstances?
SPECK: Correct. Not without permission from the chief of police.
RESENDE: Had you ever asked to for permission?
SPECK: To start a business or a job? No. I was out of work. I had this lawsuit going on and a personal suit against the chief so we were avoiding each other at that time.
RESENDE: Why steroids? What made you decide steroids?
SPECK: I think is when the PTSD was developing. I turned to fitness. I was drinking a lot and a lot of my coworkers were too. And I saw stuff that was concerning me and I noticed it in my nature because this isn’t the person I am so I just quit cold turkey. When I’m telling you drinking, guys were going out every night because there were so many problems at the department – internal – and no one wanted to listen to us.
I switched to fitness because you can’t do both so I made a goal I want to turn my life around and compete. I got into the shape of my life and won the biggest show here on the East Coast. I wanted to go pro.
RESENDE: So you didn’t wake up one morning and say steroids?
SPECK: I started using around that time. I had bought testosterone around 10 or 12 years ago. I had gone to the doctor… I had low testosterone from a damaged pituitary gland.
I researched how to buy it and it was like $30. I had to learn to inject myself, which was awful. But I felt instantly better within 24 hours. I wasn’t abusing it. I had done research. I went to my doctor and he ran labs and everting was perfect. I told him I didn’t want to get in trouble, but nobody would help me. He said I’m just going to give you a prescription.
Crossing the line of injecting, selling steroids
DAVIS: What made you cross that line to take these drugs for bodybuilding?
SPECK: I’m stuck here and I’ve always wanted to compete. It’s all going in the same hole, why don’t I try it. Some people use alcohol to cope, I was using steroids. I was using the gym and the way I looked to raise my self-esteem.
DAVIS: If you Google steroids side effects, you see all the horrendous things that can happen to your body. Were you worried about that?
SPECK: No. I get that all the time. You’ll get a small d***. You’ll have acne. You’re going to grow boobs. You’re going to have “roid” rage.
DAVIS: Which are things that will happen?
SPECK: No, well maybe man boobs. It’s called Gynecomastia.
RESENDE: Did any of that happen to you?
SPECK: Maybe a little acne. I don’t want to come off as someone promoting them, but it made me bigger. I didn’t have recovery time at the gym. I was never in pain. It made my d*** bigger.
Overall, my skin was perfect. I couldn’t gain fat if I tried.
DAVIS: But these drugs are illegal for a reason – because they are dangerous.
SPECK: I know top body builders in the world who are doing 10, 15 times what I’m doing. Their health is absolutely perfect. It’s just that people start mixing in amphetamines – Adderall, Clenbuterol, Dinitrophenol, to take away hunger side effects and keep you alert -that stuff gets really dangerous.
And you’ll get other people who move in recreational drugs to either make themselves feel better or take away hunger– cocaine, ecstasy, Katamine to sleep, GHb (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate) to sleep. That’s when it gets dangerous.
Were there others
DAVIS: When the business was up and running you sold to other body builders – other people in the fitness industry. It raises the question – were there others in law enforcement?
SPECK: I get this all the time. I get it more now especially with the sentence that I’ve ratted out other cops. That’s been a question since day one. The feds found my ledger – there was a ledger. There are no addresses. I said you can go through there, there’s not one single cop. I didn’t even have one client in the entire state of Rhode Island. The closest were a few in Connecticut, a few in Massachusetts. I gave it to them in this fashion, I told them, if I sell to a police officer and he gets in trouble they will go to him because it’s steroids and crucify him – where’d you get it. You’ll lose your pension, you’ll lose your house and they’ll say it was him and that falls back on me and I have 20,000 kilos.
DAVIS: So you never wanted to sell it to others in law enforcement?
SPECK: No that would have been the stupidest thing I could have done.
DAVIS: Knowing what you know about the world of fitness, do you know even anecdotally others who use steroids.
SPECK: I’m sure it happens but I can’t say, ‘I heard Johnny is using it.’ What if Johnny isn’t using it and I’ve created a world of problems for him – you can’t do that.
DAVIS: Do you know for use there are other cops in RI that do use steroids?
SPECK: It’s not something you really want to talk about. I’ve been with the best in the world and it’s not talked about. It’s not taboo, but there’s more important things – your nutrition, your training.
Sending a message to brothers in blue
RESENDE: After your sentencing we heard the USAO wanted to use your case to set an example, send a message to law enforcement. If you break the law- we hold you to a higher standard as an officer. Do you think this sets the tone for anyone else in law enforcement who may break the law?
SPECK: I think the judge needed to throw the prison sentence in there because I should have held myself to a higher standard – and I did for basically my whole career. I was never selling these narcotics while I wore a uniform while I was at work. I wasn’t there. I was on leave at one point.
DAVIS: But you can see people would have the impression that you’re living a double life. You’re still a sworn police officer and you’re selling something that is illegal – how would you respond.
SPECK: I had to pay my bills. This wasn’t fun. I probably worked harder running this business than I did at the police department. It was awful. Everyone is like, you have fancy shoes, you drive a nice car. I’ve always had fancy shoes, I’ve always had a nice car, and I’ve always had a nice house. Now, here I am I have my bills and no money coming in. I can’t work. My legal bills alone are over $40,000. It was tough.
RESENDE: Staying on the topic of law enforcement and your brothers in blue. If you had to draft that letter today to your colleagues, to your former supervisors what would you say.
SPECK: I’ve talked to a number of them – they know. There are two in particular that I feel absolutely awful for that retired because of what happened to them. They had absolutely no involvement in what I was doing. They were targeted because they were friends of mine and presidents of the union. I have to live with that for the rest of my life. The other guys, I’ll doing something individual for everyone else because I have something to say to each.
Returning to the courthouse
RESENDE: Your attorney said you will visit the courtroom again, but not as a criminal. What exactly was he referring to?
SPECK: This was an eye-opening experience. Now I’m on both ends of the law.
I was the police officer now I’m a convicted felon. I used to be (in the shoes of an already a convicted felon) ‘screw them, put them in a jail.’
Now you reverse the roles, I see how the system works and I say, ‘this isn’t right.’ I’ve talked to a lot of people who are convicted felons…I’ve learned from them. That was my biggest fear and that was what going to happen. I was going to be locked away three to four years and when you get out you get supervised release for another few years. …you can’t get a job.
A lot of people have to go back to selling drugs or other illegal activity. People don’t want to hear it, but that’s why.
RESENDE: Have you spoken with Judge Smith about doing community service back at the courthouse?
SPECK: I explained to him that was my fear … I said if you allow me to continue to work….I’d like to be an example for him. There are going to be people who will be in my shoes who screwed up but won’t be reoffenders. They need something to reach for in a job. This is something that you could take someone that is a responsible person who becomes a convicted felon and turn them into a productive citizen in society.