Pubdate: Tue, 27 May 2003
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2003 The Decatur Daily
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)

PRISON, $250,000 FINE

A former Morgan County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty to distributing 
marijuana, and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Gregory Johnson, 37, of Decatur pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to 
distributing drugs after prosecutors said he stole marijuana that had been 
confiscated as evidence.

According to investigators, Johnson, while serving as a Hillsboro police 
officer, stopped a person for speeding Oct. 7, 2001. He arrested the driver 
on a marijuana possession charge.

Johnson turned the confiscated marijuana over to the Alabama Department of 
Public Safety's Forensic Crime Laboratory for analysis.

Later, on March 25, 2002, when he had begun work as a Morgan County 
sheriff's deputy, Johnson picked up the marijuana from the lab, authorities 

Instead of putting the marijuana into evidence storage, Johnson stole it 
and exchanged it for sex with a woman who was known to be involved in 
trafficking drugs, authorities said.

The woman cooperated with the FBI, officials said.

'I didn't do nothing'

At the time of his arrest, Johnson, denying he committed the crime, told 
reporters, "I didn't do nothing. It's embarrassing to my family."

At the time of his March 3 arrest, Johnson was still a probationary 
employee at the Morgan County Sheriff's Department because he had 
transferred from Hillsboro on April 2002.

Sheriff Greg Bartlett fired him March 26, two days before a grand jury 

According to Bartlett, Morgan County deputies discovered Johnson's crime.

Because of Johnson's involvement, Bartlett gave the investigation results 
to federal authorities.

Bartlett said Johnson received no sentencing promises in exchange for his 
guilty plea.

Although Morgan County's investigative role in the case ended, Bartlett 
said he feared Johnson might have engaged in other misconduct as a deputy, 
but he had not discovered evidence of other crimes.

"You don't deal with something like that and just quit," Bartlett said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom