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Houston Officer Allegedly Escorted Drug Runners

 HOUSTON --

A 19-year veteran Houston police officer has been arrested on charges of aiding drug runners in his patrol car, Local 2 Investigates reported Wednesday.

Sgt. Leslie Aikens, 46, fidgeted with his fingers clenched behind his back as he faced a federal magistrate judge two hours after his arrest.

A federal indictment accuses him of two felony crimes -- possessing cocaine and using his color of authority for corruption.

He was arrested by FBI agents and HPD Internal Affairs as he got off duty Wednesday morning at the Central HPD Jail on Riesner.

"They asked me at the time where my gun belt was," Aikens told the judge of his arrest. He said HPD Internal Affairs officers confiscated his weapon as he was arrested in his uniform.

When asked if he understood the charges against him and that he would have to surrender all weapons, he answered, "Yes, ma'am, I do."

Federal prosecutors told Local 2 Investigates at the courthouse that an undercover sting was arranged in which Aikens was paid $2,000 in exchange for providing protection to drug runners.

Those drug runners, who were carrying 7 kilos of cocaine, were actually undercover agents. Surveillance showed Aikens providing an escort in his marked HPD patrol car one month ago, they said.

A sealed indictment was returned and he was arrested on the felony counts Wednesday morning.

In court, Aikens told the judge he lives in an apartment on Antoine in northwest Houston with free rent in exchange for providing security.

He told the judge he will now lose that apartment and he expects to lose his HPD job because of his arrest.

The judge ordered him to live with his sister pending his trial on the charges.

He was being released from custody on a $50,000 bond, which is unsecured. The judge told him that means he doesn't have to pay any of the bond himself now, but would owe the $50,000 to the government if he misses any future court appearances.

He is scheduled to appear again for his initial appearance next week, when a plea of not guilty will be entered.

When asked if he wanted to remain silent about the charges against him, Aikens answered, "At this time, yes ma'am."

The judge gave him 10 days to find another job.

He said his personal car keys were taken from him when he was arrested, so the judge ordered him to make sure there were no other guns in his car or his apartment.

Magistrate Mary Milloy said, "Get your keys and get that weapon secure. If you have a weapon, I will revoke your bond."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim McAlister told the judge there are other suspects being arrested as part of the drug-running enterprise, but he did not say whether any other police officers are suspected of taking part in the ring.

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