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Metro officer charged in fraud

A Metro Police narcotics officer suspected of stealing money intended for undercover drug buys and of attempting to defraud an insurance company to support a gambling habit was arrested Tuesday.

Metro's investigation raised suspicions about 38 year old Eric Marc Barros for several months following a suspicious report the officer made about a break in at his home, Sheriff Bill Young said.

Barros, a nine year veteran officer, claimed that burglars had taken numerous items from his home, including a $10,000 Rolex watch and $6,400 in cash.

After an insurance company reported that there was no missing Rolex, Metro began an undercover investigation, Young said.

"Nobody would have known about it until we saw some things amiss," Young said. "If this had been a John Q. Public,mens rolex oyster perpetual datejust watch replica, we might not have investigated it."

According to an arrest warrant, an insurance claim investigator, Mike Mueller, discovered that the watch Barros claimed was stolen was still in the inventory of Ben Bridges Jewelers at the Galleria Mall. Barros' wife, Jennifer, was an employee at the jeweler.

Although Barros claimed he received the watch from a woman who "fell in love with him during a visit to Boston," he later admitted to investigators that he never paid for the watch and and had his wife falsify the statement of sale and evaluation of the watch "because he needed the money from the watch due to his gambling problem," according to the police.

Further investigation found that Jennifer Barros was fired by Ben Bridge Jewelers for providing a false statement of sale and evaluation, according to the arrest report.

Officers also discovered evidence that Barros had allegedly taken thousands of dollars earmarked for undercover drug buys, according to the arrest warrant. Police said Barros had used confidential informants to make small drug buys,replica rolex lady datejust, then turned in larger quantities of a substance that looked like marijuana,sell rolex oyster perpetual datejust replica, but wasn't.

He was arrested without incident and booked into Clark County Detention Center Tuesday, Young said.

The case will be turned over to the district attorney's office for review, Young said.

"It's time to let the system work," the sheriff said. "It hurts all of us at Metro and law enforcement officers everywhere."

Barros is also charged with falsifying documents that led to the arrest and eventual prosecution of Port on drug charges. Port, who was arrested in 2003 and accused of intent to sell marijuana, agreed to a reduced felony charge, said Jay "Chip" Siegel, Port's attorney.

On Aug. 16, Barros told police officers that because of his "severe gambling problem and he owed so much money to so many people, he became desperate," according to the arrest warrant.

Barros confessed to investigators that he sent confidential informants to Port's house in Henderson two times, and on both occasions they were unable to purchase anything, according to the arrest warrant.

However, he had previously told a supervisor that Port was a large level marijuana supplier and that he would be receiving a large shipment in a few days. His supervisor then signed out $1,800 in buy money that Barros ended up gambling away in June 2003, according to the police report.

Barros allegedly made false drug buys from Port's house by taking bags filled with a hay like substance, and then stuffing at least one of them with marijuana, which later tested positive for marijuana, according to the arrest warrant.

Port received a suspended sentence and probation, Siegel said.

"You would expect that the police would look at every case Barros has ever been involved with," said Siegel. "Nothing he has done can be trusted."

Clark County District Attorney David Roger said his office will move to dismiss the charges against Port.

Young said Metro has "a pretty good history" of keeping corruption out of the department.

"It's very rare," the sheriff said, but he did note a previous blemish against the department in 2002,replica rolex oyster datejust perpetual, when Detective Jack Brandon was convicted of robbery and theft.

Brandon was arrested after robbing two slot machine route workers in a Henderson bar and using his unmarked police car to escape.

Brandon, like Barros, had a gambling problem and became desperate enough to disguise his face with bandages and rob United Coin employees at Rae's Lounge in Henderson. The 14 year Metro veteran was linked to the crime after the license plate on the getaway car was traced back to Brandon's police issued Ford Taurus.

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