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Police Officers Accused Of Trying 'To Out' Undercover Investigator In Underground Poker Game

Federal Government Says Cops Charged With Obstruction

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A far-reaching and years-long investigation into illegal gambling in Wichita, Kansas, including underground high-stakes poker games, has ensnared two local police officers.

The United States Attorney’s office for the District of Kansas said in a news release Thursday that two Wichita cops and an organizer of an illegal poker game “tried to out” an undercover law enforcement officer who was investigating the illegal gambling ring. The investigator was with the Wichita Police Department’s undercover narcotics section.

The poker games, which were held in several locations across Wichita dating back to the early 2010s, were equipped “with a cabinet for valuables and poker chips, video surveillance equipment, liquor and snacks,” the feds said. “Staff included dealers, someone serving food and a waitress serving drinks and giving massages to the players.”

The feds said Bruce Mackey and Michael Zajkowski, who were both Wichita police officers at the time, helped poker organizer Brock Wedman try to determine if the operation was under investigation. The three men are charged with obstructing a criminal investigation.

The unsealed indictment alleges that Wedman and an unnamed co-conspirator ran an illegal poker game on Feb. 12, 2014, in Wichita. When Wedman began to suspect there was an undercover investigator at the poker game, he wanted to know if the car the man was driving belonged to the city of Wichita. The federal government alleges that Wedman asked Zajkowski and Mackey for help. Zajkowski and Macey allegedly made a series of calls and sent texts attempting to use “police resources” to determine who owned the car. The two former cops allegedly provided the identity of the undercover officer to Wedman.

As a result of the discovery and the concern of the players in the room, the illegal poker game was never held at that location again, according to the government.

“They gave Wedman reason to believe an undercover officer was present and they confirmed his car was registered to the City of Wichita and in service to the Wichita Police Department,” the news release said. When the FBI interviewed Wedman several years later in February 2017, he falsely denied he gave the co-defendants the license plate number and VIN number of the car and asked them to find out who owned it.

The three men face potential prison time if convicted.

In a separate news release on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that retired Kansas Highway Patrol officer Michael Frederiksen was charged with making false statements to the FBI. Frederiksen was also a player in the poker game on Feb. 12, 2014, according to the government.

The criminal complaint filed in federal court in Wichita alleges that in 2014, while Frederiksen was still a Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper, he was filmed taking part in an illegal cash game. He later lied to the FBI about his involvement in the poker game, according to the complaint. The feds also claim that Frederiksen had a close relationship with one of the organizers of the game.

The four men charged this week brings the number of individuals accused of criminal misconduct related to the illegal gambling to six. Earlier this month, a bookie and another man behind the illegal poker games took plea deals, admitting to tax evasion, as reported by the Wichita Eagle.

World-class poker player and Wichita businessman Brandon Steven was linked to the federal inquiry thanks to intercepted phone calls between May and June of 2015. However, Steven wasn’t accused of any wrongdoing. In addition, a Kansas State Senator at the time was also scrutinized by the FBI amid the broad inquiry but never was accused of misconduct.

 
 
 
 

Comments

nickelchip
1 month ago

Awesome, the FBI using resources to bust up poker games. Watch out seniors, your bingo game is next.

 
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