Details on drug investigation involving two former police officers
We're learning more about the investigation of two former Marquette-area
According to the criminal complaint obtained by TV6 through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in 2018 during his employment with the Negaunee Police Department, Richard Neaves, who had also previously worked at the Marquette Police Department, was caught and admitted to breaking into the Negaunee Police Department’s prescription drug take-back box and stealing medications from it.
In January of 2019, the Michigan State Police (MSP) obtained a search warrant to search Neaves’s cellphone during the drug take-back box investigation.
According to court documents, texts were found between Neaves and former Marquette Police Officer Todd Collins discussing buying and selling anabolic steroids, which are schedule three substances. These included substances such as Turinabol, Sustanon, and Winstrol, to name a few.
These texts ranged from June 2017 to November of 2018.
Investigators say that texts between Neaves and another former Marquette police officer, who has remained unnamed, were also found discussing the buying and selling of steroids.
Marquette Police Chief Blake Rieboldt, was informed of the findings and made an official request for the MSP to investigate further.
Court documents show on Aug. 23, 2019, Collins and the other unnamed officer had their cellphones searched, as well as Collins’s in-vehicle laptop. Five individual search warrants were then submitted for forensic exams of the devices.
Page two of the supplemental incident report in the criminal complaint states that the mobile application “Venmo” was used between Neaves and Collins, and Neaves and the unnamed officer, for payment of the steroids.
In September of 2019, search warrants were submitted and approved for the bank accounts from Neaves, Collins, and the unnamed officer.
According to the documents, in October, the unnamed officer was interviewed by MSP Det./Lt. Robert Pernaski, where the unnamed former officer admitted to buying steroids from Neaves.
Both Collins and the unnamed officer resigned from the Marquette Police Department during the investigation.
It is stated in the complaint that on Nov. 5, 2019, the investigation was “coming to a close” and was submitted to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
On Nov. 21, 2019, both Collins and Neaves were arrested. They were both arraigned on two felony counts: conspiracy to commit controlled substance - delivery/manufacture of schedules 1, 2 and 3 except marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine, and using a computer to commit a crime.
Both Neaves and Collins are out on bond. A preliminary exam for both subjects was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but they were cancelled.
According to court officials, Neaves waived his prelim and Collins is expected to make a plea.
In a statement to TV6, Neaves’s attorney, George Hyde, said the following:
“My client, Rick Neaves, maintains his innocence in connection with these charges, and he and I are confident that he will be exonerated when all of the facts come out. Moreover, we are troubled by the irregular procedures employed by law enforcement in deviating from standard practice throughout this investigation. After review of the totality of circumstances, we wonder if this investigation has been clouded by malicious intent against Mr. Neaves, as he was one of three police officers who previously and successfully complained of violations of federal labor law within the Marquette Police Department.”
We reached out to Collins’s attorney, but she declined to comment at this time.
Future court dates for Neaves and Collins are not yet set. Stay with TV6 and FOX UP as we continue to cover this developing story.