Longform

RATS! SNITCHING FOR TH SLEAZIEST COPS IN THE STATE ISN'T GOING TO LOOK GOOD ON YOUR RESUME!

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@body:MAGNET commanders refused to discuss Sheryl or Milton without signed, notarized releases, saying discussing the twins could jeopardize the couple's safety. Police don't want to be liable if anything happens to them. But if there is concern for their safety now, there appeared to be little while the twins worked for MAGNET.

The twins should probably have been moved out in April when cops learned another dancer suspected Sheryl was an informant. They definitely should have been moved out before the big raid on the nightclubs, May 29 of last year.

But they weren't.
"We were doing the warrants in Mohave County and nobody thought to get them the hell out of there," remembers Ernie Soper, the park-service investigator. The day before the raid, he says, MAGNET finally asked him to find somewhere for the two to go.

The twins didn't get out of town until about a week later, they say. It was then that they began their life on the run--and on their own. They had some help from Soper and the park service, and did some informant work near Lake Mead and Lake Powell over the summer. They tried to find drugs in Springerville, near the New Mexico border, but came up empty.

But they still weren't mad at police--yet.
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@body:A birthday card the twins bought for MAGNET Deputy Paul Adams, who monitored many of their drug busts, reads: "At first we really couldn't afford shit, but we just maced, stunned and shot a few people and well, here we are with a little extra spending cash. (don't worry we didn't hurt anyone)--love you lots, 'Twins.'"

Adams had become their good friend over the course of the investigation. Although they never gave him the card, they did celebrate their birthdays together at the start of August last year. Sheryl and Milton weren't happy the cops had hung them out to dry. But it wasn't until they realized they weren't going to get all the money that they did the one thing they had learned to do best: They told. This time, it was on Adams. Adams had asked the couple to make a pornographic film of themselves, the twins say. One time, Adams tried to get them to go skinny-dipping with him on the Fort Mohave Indian Reservation.

But it was an incident last July that has set the county abuzz. The twins needed gas money, so they stopped at MAGNET's undercover headquarters. Adams had the unit's drug-surveillance camera set up on a tripod. He had soft music playing in the background. He said he wouldn't give them the money until she stripped, Sheryl claims. So, clad in pink panties, a pink bra and jeans shorts, she sat down in a chair in front of the camera, while Adams filmed her. Milton watched as she took her top off, and Adams put his badge around her neck. "It was premeditated," says Sheryl.

That incident, and its aftermath, are still being talked about in Mohave County. The twins told Ernie Soper, the park-service investigator, about the video. They also charged that Adams often had them sign blank expense receipts that he would later fill out himself.

So Soper went to the Sheriff's Office, and detectives in the office began to conduct an internal investigation. They interviewed the twins, as well as Adams. The deputy admitted to filming the striptease and having the informants sign blank receipts. But he put a different spin on the video activities--he said he'd done the filming at Milton's request, and that Sheryl herself had grabbed his badge.

As for the skinny-dipping, well, Adams said, "It was hot and I wanted to go swimming so I just dropped my shorts and jumped in." While he also admitted to having the informants sign the blank receipts, Adams said he'd paid back the money--which he'd spent in casinos.

But when Sheriff Joe Cook learned of the accusations the first week of September, he decided he would take over the investigation himself. Cook had plenty of problems already. He was up for reelection and it was less than two months before November 3. Another deputy of his had just been arrested and charged with 18 counts of molesting a 13-year-old boy. In a press release later, Cook said he took over the Adams investigation because it wasn't "fair" and "unbiased."

On September 17, Cook allowed Adams to quietly resign. Some of the original detectives investigating the incident before Cook took it out of their hands were furious that Adams wasn't fired. Word began to spread about what Adams had done--and had admitted to on tape.

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Dave Newbart