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Crime & Courts

Lakeland man sentenced in case of Wii-playing detectives

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 09:58 PM

The man whose home was raided last year - and whose Nintendo Wii was used by detectives to play a bowling video game during the raid - has accepted a plea agreement on drug charges.

Michael Difalco of Lakeland was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison and two years probation as part of the plea deal, Chip Thullbery, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office in Polk County said.

Difalco also forfeited plasma televisions, a riding lawnmower, motorcycles, a sport utility vehicle, jewelry and more than $1,600, Thullbery said.

Undercover detectives from multiple agencies stormed into Difalco's home March 6, 2009 looking for drugs. Within 20 minutes of the operation, some detectives started playing the Wii Sports bowling game.

The Wii remote-waving detectives were recorded by a wireless security camera hooked up to Difalco's computer. The video of the detectives bowling frame after frame was leaked online and became viral.

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd, whose agency oversaw the raid involving Polk, Auburndale and Lakeland police detectives, was not happy some law enforcement officers bowled while others hauled out evidence including firearms and high-definition televisions.

"That is not appropriate conduct at a search warrant," Judd said after the video of the detectives was posted online. "But I am less pleased with the supervision that didn't walk in and say, 'Turn that off.' That's what supervision should have done."

Eleven members of the multiagency task force were found to have taken their turn on the Wii or did not stop their colleagues from playing the game. The officers had to go through several hours of retraining and had letters about their conduct placed in their files, sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Eleazer said.

Difalco, 44, pleaded no contest Tuesday to possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of oxycodone, possession of methamphetamine and five other drug- and firearms-related charges.

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