//ex-Douglas sergeant gets 5 years for transporting drugs – while on probation for theft of cash evidence

ex-Douglas sergeant gets 5 years for transporting drugs – while on probation for theft of cash evidence

By Terri Jo Neff

3 loads in 3 weeks; collected $7200 for deliveries to Tucson

“Unusual” behavior during traffic stop for speeding led to bust for 224 pounds marijuana

BISBEE – Theodore Kulkens avoided going to prison in November when judge Wallace Hoggatt sentenced the former Douglas police officer to supervised probation instead of imprisonment for stealing cash from the police evidence room. But on May 23, all of that went out the window when Hoggatt formally revoked Kulkens’ four year probation term and replaced it with 2.5 years in prison.

The re-sentencing occurred after Kulkens pleaded guilty in a separate case stemming from a December arrest for transporting 224 pounds of marijuana in his work vehicle while on probation.
According to court records, Kulkens admitted it was the fourth time he transported drugs for a friend named Armando from a vacant building in Douglas to Tucson.
Kulkens earned $7,200 in three weeks for his actions. It also earned him a five year prison sentence.
On December 10, Kulkens was driving westbound on Interstate 10 east of Benson when he was clocked by radar at 81 mph in a 75 mph zone. He was at the wheel of a Chevrolet Tahoe registered to his employer, Canyon State Wireless.
Deputy Marshall Sharp of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) made the traffic stop. Sharp described Kulkens as “holding the wheel with stiff, locked arms” and noted it “was unusual” that the driver did not look at the patrol car while passing because in Sharp’s experience the Canyon State drivers were “friendly and waved.”

Sharp noted in a report that Kulkens appeared nervous “even when told he was being given a written warning.” Based on the deputy’s observations, he deployed his drug dog Ingo for
an “exterior sniff” of the Tahoe. Ingo alerted to the passenger side quarter panel and rear area of the vehicle.
A search revealed four large boxes of marijuana bricks and bundles. Kulkens was arrested and later charged by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office with conspiracy to commit transportation of marijuana for sale, conducting a racketeering enterprise, and transportation of marijuana for sale. The drug arrest also led to revocation of his probation in the theft case.
Kulkens addressed judge Hoggatt prior to sentencing, admitting that back in November he “made promises” to the court, to his wife, and others but “I failed.” Judge Hoggatt expressed hope that by allowing Kulkens to serve the two prison sentences concurrently (at same time), it “gives you hope of turning things around” upon release from prison.
Missing police evidence money leads to Attorney General investigation
In January 2015, Douglas PD could not account for $14,991.90 in cash that had been placed into evidence from 2007 to 2013. Police chief Kraig Fullen notified the AG’s Office which undertook an investigation.

Kulkens was interviewed as part of the investigation because he supervised the evidence room prior to his termination in September 2013 for falsifying police documents. He turned over the missing evidence envelopes and pleaded guilty to one count of theft.
Chief Fullen was present for Kulkens’ May 23 sentencing as the victim representative for the city.  He did not make a statement during the proceedings but did address the court during the sentencing hearing on the theft case in November when Kulkens was placed on probation.
Kulkens was stripped of police certification in February 2014 by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) board.   When he is released from prison the court will enter a new restitution order on behalf of the city for any of the nearly $15,000 Kulkens still owes by then.
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Contact reporter Terri Jo Neff at 520-508-3660 or cjw_media@yahoo.com