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Denver police officer under investigation after drug evidence goes missing

DENVER — A Denver police officer is under investigation after evidence from a drug bust went missing.

The investigation focuses on Officer Brian Niven who we found at his Highlands Ranch home Wednesday.

A veteran of the Denver Police Department, officer Niven works at the District 1 substation, which covers the northwest part of Denver. Officers there participated in a major drug bust several weeks ago seizing cocaine and marijuana.

Multiple law enforcement sources told FOX31 Denver an irregularity in evidence before it was checked into the police locker came to light, and the investigation narrowed quickly on officer Niven, who participated in the bust.

Sources said before Niven checked the cocaine into evidence, some of the drug was missing, and disappeared during the time Niven had custody of it.

Sources said Niven was asked to take a drug test before he was suspended.

Police have questioned Niven, according to sources, and are reviewing more than 50 other drug cases he investigated — something criminal justice experts say could have disastrous effects on the drug cases to which he’s connected.

“It has a significant impact. It may even result in the dismissal of the cases by the district attorney,” said Joseph Sandoval a professor at Metro State University.

Wednesday night, Denver police issued a statement saying only that “An internal investigation is taking place with Brian Niven as the subject. At this time, he is suspended with pay.”

Niven declined to answer questions when we reached him at his home.

The case will eventually be presented to the District Attorney’s Office to see if there is enough evidence to charge the officer. At this point, that has not happened.

EDITORS NOTE: After this story aired, FOX31 received several emails from viewers concerned over the reporter’s decision to approach the officer in front of his children. What viewers can’t see because we blurred the video, is that the children are toddlers too young to understand our questions. This is why the reporter made the decision to move forward with questioning the officer.