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Las Vegas detective stole meth, gave it to woman, report says

Updated October 29, 2019 - 8:16 pm

Lawrence Rinetti Jr. used his power as a Las Vegas detective to steal methamphetamine while on duty and to keep a woman out of jail, according to an arrest report released Tuesday.

Rinetti, 46, was arrested by fellow Metropolitan Police Department officers after he was called to the Clark County Detention Center on Oct. 18, according to the heavily redacted, 20-page arrest report. During an investigation that started in June, investigators determined that Rinetti stole drugs at least once to give to a woman he had used “as a source of information for law enforcement purposes.”

While working with U.S. Marshals, Rinetti reportedly helped investigate someone who was on probation. During that investigation, the date of which was redacted from the report, a “large amount” of methamphetamine was left unattended while probation officers conducted interviews and searched an apartment.

In August, the woman who lived at the apartment told investigators she believed “a detective” had stolen narcotics. She believed there would have been more than 112 grams of methamphetamine at her apartment when it was searched.

Officers only impounded 65 grams of methamphetamine, leading detectives to believe that Rinetti stole the other 47 grams, the report said.

Rinetti, who was freed on $10,000 bail, faces charges of selling or transporting a controlled substance, destroying or concealing evidence and misconduct of a public officer. He was relieved of duty with pay, Metro has said.

Metro employment records show that Rinetti joined the department in January 2006. At the time of his arrest, he was assigned to the department’s Major Violators and Narcotics Crimes Bureau.

‘In love with a cop’

Investigators learned of Rinetti’s alleged criminal activity after officers with Metro’s gang unit overheard a recorded call involving an inmate at High Desert State Prison, who spoke of a woman who was “in love with a cop,” the report said.

After months of investigation, detectives spoke with that woman on Oct. 16 at the Hard Rock. The woman, whose name was redacted from the report, eventually acknowledged she had been in a sexual relationship with Rinetti since November.

She said Rinetti was “extremely jealous” that she worked as an “exotic dancer,” and in a later interview said he gave her methamphetamine to sell for rent money.

After he was arrested, Rinetti initially said he only knew the woman as a confidential informant, but he “ultimately acknowledged the relationship,” the report said.

He also allegedly admitted contacting the District Attorney’s Office to help the woman with “pending criminal charges.”

The woman avoided arrest at least once by claiming she was working for Rinetti as a confidential informant, the report said. At one point she was detained on “active felony warrants” but was released after telling officers she was an informant.

In another case, the woman was detained on suspicion of petty larceny at a department store, the report said. She was again released after officers spoke with Rinetti.

Another time, the woman was the passenger in a stolen vehicle that was stopped. That night, another detective who has used the the woman as an informant called Rinetti.

Rinetti told investigators that the other detective signed the woman up as an FBI informant, but a records check revealed that was false, the report said. The woman and the other detective were in contact with each other, but it was “far less” than her contact with Rinetti.

It was unclear when each case of the woman being detained and released happened because the dates were redacted from the report.

Using a GPS device, investigators placed Rinetti at the woman’s home multiple times, sometimes for almost an hour, and sometimes while he was on duty, the report said.

A confidential source

Investigators received some of their information about Rinetti from a source seeking leniency for felony charges, the release said. That source’s information was redacted “due to fear for the sources safety” if Rinetti were to learn that person’s identity, the release said.

More than a full page of the report labeled “confidential source operations” was entirely redacted. The only information not blacked out on that page was footnotes referencing methamphetamine and heroin.

Rinetti is a board member of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association union. His duties include “covert ops,” according to his biography page on the union’s website.

Steve Grammas, president of the protective association, said Oct. 21 that Rinetti is entitled to the union’s legal representation as long as the charges are “directly related to the course and scope” of his duty as an officer.

Rinetti also served as a ring inspector with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, according to a list of 2019 officials and inspectors. As an inspector, Rinetti ensured Nevada boxing, mixed martial arts, muay thai and kickboxing weigh-ins and events were conducted in accordance with state laws and regulations.

Rinetti is due to appear in court on Nov. 18, court records show.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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