A former Arlington police officer who accessed law enforcement databases to tip off a steroid dealer pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge and faces up to five years in prison.Thomas S. Kantzos, 45, of Fort Worth, was charged with exceeding access to a protected computer. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver in Dallas.Kantzos, who bought steroids from the dealer for himself and other officers for years, remained free on bail Tuesday. When he is sentenced Feb. 12, he will face a maximum of five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.A second officer questioned by federal investigators, David Vo, committed suicide the day Kantzos was arrested. A third officer, Craig Hermans, resigned from the department in August after being placed on paid administrative leave in connection with the investigation.Concerned that the steroid scandal would hurt the department’s credibility in the community, Police Chief Will Johnson announced a department-wide policy change in June that will include random drug tests. Employees will be tested for steroids and other illegal substances, said Lt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman.Obtaining sensitive informationAccording to a federal affidavit, the investigation began in January after a man arrested for distributing anabolic steroids told authorities that he had sold steroids to Kantzos for five or six years.The man, referred to in the affidavit as the “CW,” or cooperating witness, told investigators that at least once, he delivered about 20 human growth hormone kits to Kantzos while Kantzos was on duty, in uniform and in his patrol car.Through that interview and a search of the informant’s phone, investigators determined that Kantzos had solicited anabolic steroids multiple times for himself and others, including colleagues in the Police Department.“He often collected money from the other individuals before he obtained the steroids from the CW, but on some occasions he fronted the money for the purchases,” the affidavit says.It says Kantzos knew that the cooperating witness was obtaining and distributing anabolic steroids through the mail.The CW also told authorities that Kantzos had given him sensitive information obtained from law enforcement databases.“Access to those databases is restricted to authorized law enforcement personnel only,” the affidavit says. “In each instance, the CW asked Kantzos to query a name or a license plate for the CW’s personal use.”‘Still laying low?’One of the inquiries, the witness told authorities, occurred in late 2011 when he saw a pickup parked down the street from his house and a familiar-looking man in the driver’s seat with a laptop computer. The witness planned to deliver steroids to an Arlington officer that day and thought he might be under surveillance.The affidavit says Kantzos ran the license plate and told the informant that an officer on a drug task force owned the truck. Database records confirmed that Kantzos ran a “stolen vehicle investigative inquiry” Dec. 29. 2011, on an officer’s pickup, the affidavit says.Based on the information from Kantzos, the cooperating witness discovered a tracking device on his vehicle and began lying low for the next month or so. During that time, the affidavit says, the witness and Kantzos talked about the tracking device and police surveillance.“Still laying low?” Kantzos texted to the CW on Feb. 16, 2012, according to the affidavit.“Yeah got new way of doing you still need?” the CW replied.“Let me ask. … But [name redacted] was asking bout it too,” Kantzos texted back, according to the affidavit.The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Texas Rangers. This report includes material from the -Telegram archives.
Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr