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Portland cop on leave after search warrant served on his house

Officer's housemate reportedly target of drug investigation

A Portland police officer has been placed on leave after a search warrant was served on a house he owns in Oregon City.

Details are sketchy, but multiple sources confirmed the officer placed on leave is Hythum Ismail, 31, a Portland cop since 2001. The search did not target Ismail, but a housemate.

Reportedly, investigators are trying to determine whether Ismail had any knowledge of possible illegal activity by his housemate. It is unclear whether the search warrant, which is believed to have targeted methamphetamine, revealed any evidence of illegal activity.

Lt. Lisa Nunes of the Oregon City Police Department, while unfamiliar with the case, confirmed that a search warrant has been executed on a house that, according to a public-records database, belongs to Ismail.

A Portland Police Bureau clerk confirmed that Ismail is on leave, saying,'I don't know when he'll be back.'

Asked why Ismail is on leave, Portland Police Association President Robert King said,'An investigation is occurring. I have no comment.'

Police Bureau Spokesman Sgt Brian Schmautz declined to discuss the case, including whether Ismail was placed on leave. However, he said, 'We have an officer on paid administrative leave, because another jurisdiction is conducting an investigation and our officer's name came up during that investigation.'

One source said Ismail has told authorities he had no knowledge of any illegal activities. He has cooperated with the investigation of his housemate, and has not retained an attorney, as officers frequently do when they are concerned about potential criminal charges.

According to Nunes, the warrant was executed at about 6 p.m. March 9, and the lead agency listed on the warrant was the Canby Police Department.

Multiple sources indicated that the search warrant was executed on behalf of the Regional Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force, a law enforcement agency that is composed of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including Canby. The agency targets mid-level drug traffickers. ROCN Commander Frank Romanaggi was off-duty on Monday, and a ROCN duty sergeant declined comment. A Canby detective did not return a Portland Tribune call.

Schmautz issued an e-mail to reporters that did not name Ismail, saying: 'At this time, there is no information that the officer committed a crime, however, the officer will not return to duty until there is a complete internal review of the officer's actions. Because of the continuing investigation, the Police Bureau will not identify the officer or jurisdiction.'

Schmautz's e-mail was prompted by reporters' queries concerning a blog posting by Lewis and Clark law professor Jack Bogdanski that contained an allegation that a marijuana growing operation had been discovered in the basement of a Portland police officer. That allegation is false, according to Schmautz.