New narcotics charge for ex-Wilmington cop out on bail in sex solicitation case

Brandon Cooper was out on $75,000 bail when undercover city officers witnessed an alleged drug deal and found him with oxycodone and a police baton.



Wilmington vice cops who pulled a car over downtown last week after allegedly witnessing a street narcotics deal must have been stunned by the identity of the passenger.

Inside the car was Brandon C. Cooper, an ex-patrolman who had left the city police force a month earlier while being investigated for lewd text messages he allegedly sent to a teenager in foster care.

Cooper, 31, had been indicted eight days before the traffic stop for sexual solicitation of a child, lewdness, and official misconduct and was free on $75,000 bail.

The ex-cop’s troubles were about to get deeper.

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When the undercover officers asked Cooper what he was doing, their former colleague said he had just left a meeting with his probation officer and only stopped to get gas, court records show.

Cooper said nothing illegal was in the car — which he owned even though he was not driving. He agreed to let it be searched, even after inquiring, “For what?” court records showed.

Police first searched the driver, 36-year-old Joshua Jeffries, and found a 9mm Ruger pistol tucked into his waistband, court records show.

Both men were taken into custody and transported to police headquarters where Cooper once questioned suspects.

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Jeffries was searched more thoroughly, and officers found nearly 60 packets of heroin in his socks, court records showed. A silver container on his key chain also had two oxycodone pills and one tablet of the addictive anti-anxiety drug Xanax, police said. Jeffries faces weapons and drug charges.

Cooper told officers he knew nothing about what Jeffries had engaged in minutes before the stop, when someone was seen entering the back seat and exchanging items with Jeffries.

But Cooper wasn’t clean either, according to court papers.

Officers searched Cooper and found five tablets of oxycodone, a powerful prescription opioid, in a cigar box. He told officers he purchased them from a female he knows, court records show.

Cooper also had a Wilmington police-issued baton and identification card, court records said.

Cooper was charged with possession of a controlled substance and released on additional $1,000 unsecured bail.

Police spokesman David Karas did not comment on the fact that the former patrolman, who spent more than four years on the force, now faces drug charges in addition to the sex solicitation and other charges from his encounters with the 17-year-old girl.

Addressing the city police property Cooper allegedly had, Karas said the department “collected all issued equipment prior to the end of his employment,” including his ID card and baton.

Even though the arrest warrant said the baton was one issued by Wilmington police, Karas said it was only “similar to those issued by our department.”

Karas said the ID card found on Cooper “only had our logo, but no identifying features or details due to wear.”

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