'The Amazing Race' racer Louis Stravato cleared in drug ring case
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/19/2010
The Amazing Race sixteenth-season contestant Louis Stravato has confirmed he has been cleared of any criminal misconduct after he was put on desk duty as part of an investigation in which three of his department's police officers were arrested for allegedly participating in a cocaine drug ring.
"It was heart-wrenching. It tore me apart," Stravato told the Providence Journal in a Wednesday report. "I didn't have a blemish on my record."
The 47-year-old detective from Bristol, RI was one of four Providence Police officers placed on administrative duty in March as part of the Rhode Island State Police and FBI's investigation into a "large-scale" cocaine distribution operation that allegedly included Providence police officers.
Stravato and fellow narcotics detective Anthony R. Hampton were both cleared by Providence Police Chief Dean M. Esserman, and Deputy Police Chief Paul J. Kennedy told the Journal that both men are "back on duty."
"It was very strange," Stravato told the Journal about being investigated while his just-concludedThe Amazing Race edition aired on CBS this spring. "I was very angry."
The other two unidentified officers remain under desk duty restriction as the investigation continues, according to the Journal, which added criminal cases are proceeding against the three arrested officers -- narcotics detective Joseph Colanduono, Sgt. Stephen Gonsalves and patrolman Robert J. Hamlin, who is the brother Albert B. Hamlin, a civilian who allegedly ran the drug ring.
Stravato claims he was accused by Albert but only knew the alleged drug dealer as the general contractor he had hired to install a garage door at his house, according to the Journal.
While Rhode Island State Police have alleged that Albert was a confidential informant for Colanduono, Stravato told the Journal each detective keeps informant identities private so he had no knowledge of the informant status when Albert worked on his house.
Stravato said he was unable to divulge to the Journal what Albert accused him of since it is still part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
Stravato's clearing of any involvement in the drug ring was first reported by TMZ earlier this month.