Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Washington Field Division Field Division
The Violent Crime Bureau
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2012
Contact: Special Agent Mike Campbell
ATF Washington Field Division Agents Receive Prestigious Top Cops Award
WASHINGTON – Two Washington Field Division special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will receive an honorable mention Top Cops Award from the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) on May 12 for their work in conducting an undercover murder for hire investigation in Warren County Virginia.
ATF Special Agents William Metcalf and Leonard Codispot, along with members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, will be honored for an investigation that thwarted a plot to murder a federal witness who was scheduled to testify against a violent career criminal and armed crack dealer.
When ATF agents and members of the task force received word that the defendant was asking fellow inmates if they knew of anyone willing to murder the witness they worked quickly to insert an undercover ATF agent (SA Codispot) into the jail to take on the role of an inmate newly transferred to the jail. Codispot was able to quickly gain the trust of the defendant, who, believing that Codispot’s release date was imminent, solicited him to murder the witness.
After Codispot was released from jail the defendant coordinated the down payment for the murder. Several days later, through a ruse, the defendant was convinced that the witness had been murdered, and his reaction to this news was used during his trial.
Being sent undercover into jail as an inmate was the scariest and most dangerous assignment that I have ever done. It was also very educational and if asked, I would do this again, said Codispot.
Subsequent search warrants executed by ATF agents and members of the task force resulted in the seizure of documents detailing the plot, along with a firearm and several vehicles. The defendant was found guilty after a three-day trial, and was sentenced to 306 months in federal prison.
In addition to the ATF special agents, Sergeant Kevin M. Coffman and Detective Eric J. Suess of the Front Royal Virginia Police Department, Investigator Phillip A. Henry II and Investigator Laura K. Klutz of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, and Special Agent Anthony L. Williams of the Virginia State Police will be honored for their work on this investigation.
Each year since 1994 NAPO has presented the TOP COPS Awards® Ceremony. The purpose of the TOP COPS Awards® is to educate the American public about our nation’s heroes and to pay tribute to law enforcement officers in federal, state, county, and local agencies from across the country for actions above and beyond the call of duty during the preceding year. The TOP COPS® are nominated by fellow officers. An independent Awards Selection Committee comprising national law enforcement representatives select, from hundreds of nominations, one TOP COPS® case from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories. Officers from the top 10 cases have been selected as the 2012 TOP COPS®. In each remaining state, one case has been selected for which the officer(s) will receive an Honorable Mention award. Visit NAPO on the Web at http://www.napo.org/.