Pubdate: Fri, 01 May 2015
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2015 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Anne Blythe
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


Thirteen current and former law enforcement officers from Eastern 
North Carolina were arrested Thursday as part of an undercover 
drug-trafficking sting that started with a tip to the Halifax County 
Sheriff's Office almost two years ago.

The sting led to drug conspiracy and weapon charges against seven 
current or former Northampton County deputies, three state 
corrections officers, a Northampton County emergency dispatcher, a 
Windsor police officer, a former Weldon police officer, a Raleigh 
resident and a Virginia corrections officer.

In a news conference Thursday, top federal prosecutors and state and 
federal law enforcement agents offered a glimpse of what they 
described as a coordinated attempt to move what they thought were 
large shipments of cocaine and heroin through North Carolina to other 
East Coast states.

"When officers violate the trust that the public has instilled in 
them, it tears at the very core of what holds a community together," 
said Thomas Walker, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of 
North Carolina. "The people of North Carolina deserve law enforcement 
officers who will serve and protect, not those who will violate the 
promises they have made."

The 15 people accused were arrested Thursday morning after being 
picked up at the Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport and a Rocky 
Mount warehouse.

The group at the airport was expecting to move a shipment of drugs, 
prosecutors said, and those at the warehouse were expecting to pick 
up a shipment. Investigators from the FBI, the North Carolina 
Department of Public Safety and Halifax County used thousands of 
dollars in federal grant money to organize and bring about the 
exchange of fake drugs, according to prosecutors.

John Strong, head of the FBI in North Carolina, said the accused 
acted with "shock and disbelief"  Thursday when they found themselves 
on the other side of the law. They are due in court Friday morning 
for a first appearance before a judge.

The investigators provided few details about whether the group 
arrested had worked extensively together before the FBI got involved. 
It was not until Thursday, Strong said, that agents informed the 
Northampton's Sheriff's Office and the Windsor Police Department 
about the investigation that proceeded for two years without the 
undercover operation being exposed.

A 54-count indictment was unsealed Thursday. Walker and Strong said 
there will be further investigation.

"Deputies and correctional officers used their law enforcement 
positions to line their own pockets,"  Strong said. "They vowed to 
protect and serve but instead were motivated by pure greed and 
tarnished the badges they were trusted to carry."

The accused are:

Northampton County deputies Ikeisha Jacobs, 32; Jason Boone, 29; 
Jimmy Pair Jr., 48; Curtis Boone, 31; and Thomas Jefferson Allen II, 37.

Former Northampton County deputies Wardie Vincent Jr., 35, son of the 
former sheriff there; and Cory Jackson, 43.

Northampton County 911 dispatcher Tosha Dailey, 31.

N.C. Department of Public Safety corrections officers Adrienne Moody, 
39; Alaina Kamling, 27; and Kavon Phillips, 25.

Windsor police officer Antonio Tillman, 31.

Virginia Department of Corrections officers Lann Tjuan Clanton, 36, a 
former Weldon police officer; and Alphonso Ponton, 42; and Raleigh 
resident Crystal Pierce, 31.

The officials offered only limited details Thursday about how the 
undercover investigators used federal money and fake drugs to bring 
the corruption case.

All of the accused face charges of conspiracy to distribute and 
possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin; and carrying 
and using firearms in relation to drug trafficking offense.

The current officers face bribery charges.

Some also face money laundering charges, attempted extortion and 
using a firearm during a violent crime.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom