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Police corruption sting involves local lawmen

RALEIGH – Documents unsealed here today (Thursday) contain a 54-count federal indictment that alleges 13 current and former law enforcement officers and two other individuals protected narcotics shipments and cash proceeds during transit along the East Coast for what they believed was a large-scale drug trafficking organization that was actually an undercover operation by the FBI.

That operation, according to information released today at a press conference in Raleigh, has been ongoing for the past two years.

Seven of the 13 individuals indicted are either currently employed or were once employed with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, along with one Northampton County emergency response dispatcher. That list includes:

Deputy Ikeisha Jacobs, age 32;

Deputy Jason Boone, age 29;

Deputy Jimmy Pair Jr., age 48;

Deputy Curtis Boone, age 31;

Deputy Thomas Jefferson Allen II, age 37;

911 Dispatch Operator Tosha Dailey, age 31; and

Deputy Wardie Vincent Jr., age 35, and Deputy Cory Jackson, age 43, both formerly of the county’s Sheriff’s Office.

Additionally, 31-year-old Antonio Tillmon, a current member of the Windsor Police Department, was indicted.

Other indictments include:

Lann Tjuan Clanton, 36, a correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections and former Weldon police officer;

Adrienne Moody, 39, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety;

Alaina Kamling, 27, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety;

Kavon Phillips, 25, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety;

Crystal Pierce, 31, of Raleigh; and

Alphonso Ponton, 42, a correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The charges also include attempted extortion, attempted possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, money laundering, federal programs bribery, and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

The investigation into police corruption in Northampton County was spearheaded by information received by the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office which was then passed on to the FBI.

“Deputies contacted the FBI on day one and since day one have had an active role,” Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said Thursday afternoon.

“We received numerous tips and information from confidential informants. We follow up on every lead and every tip to make sure it’s credible,” Tripp said. “I have a sick feeling in my stomach right now because we all take an oath to defend and protect the state and federal constitution. We’re not supposed to break the law. We will continue to work closely my friend (Northampton County) Sheriff Jack Smith. Words cannot express how many man hours and time away from their families our deputies worked with the federal government in this case.”

Tripp described Operation Rockfish as a major corruption sting operation centering on officers involved in the drug trade.

“No drugs made it to anybody in the public. This is huge. This is the biggest police corruption case since Tarnished Badge in Robeson County.  It was much bigger than that.”

According to information obtained from the indictments by www.rrspin.com, the first count charges the conspiracy was ongoing since around Nov. 7, 2013 and involves the movement of one or more kilograms of heroin and five or more kilograms of cocaine.

In the second count, the federal government charges the use of firearms in drug trafficking cases, specifically that the defendants used and carried firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Around Aug. 22, 2013, count three charges that Clanton attempted to knowingly obstruct, delay and affect commerce by extortion, the indictment explaining that Clanton attempted to obtain property induced by the wrong and threatened use of force, violence and fear.

Count four charges that Clanton used a firearm in committing the act of extortion.

On Sept. 26, 2013, according to count five, Clanton attempted to possess with the intent to distribute more than 5 kilos of a mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine.

Count six alleges money laundering involving Clanton and Jacobs on Nov. 7, 2013. The indictment says they did so with the intent to conceal and disguise the proceeds of what is believed to be unlawful activity, aiding and abetting each other and, “Did knowingly and willfully conduct and attempt to conduct a financial transaction affecting interstate and foreign commerce involving property represented by a law enforcement officer to be proceeds of specified unlawful activity, that is, drug trafficking.”

Count seven charges that Jacobs, while a deputy sheriff with Northampton, received benefits in excess of $10,000 in any one-year period surrounding the date of November 7, 2013, from federal programs involving a grant, contract, subsidy loan, guarantee, insurance and other forms of federal assistance.

The indictment says she did corruptly solicit, demand, accept and agree to accept something of value intending to be influenced and rewarded with the business, transaction, and series of transactions of such county government involving something of value of $5,000 or more.

“Ikeisha Jacobs … agreed to accept and accepted cash from undercover law enforcement agents posing as members of a drug trafficking organization, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with protecting shipments of purported narcotic proceeds.”

Count eight charges money laundering, stating that around Dec. 19, 2013, Clanton and Jacobs concealed and disguised the nature, location, source, ownership and control of property believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Count nine alleges bribery and states that around Dec. 19, 2013, Jacobs received benefits in excess of $10,000, accepting cash from an undercover law enforcement agent to protect shipments of purported narcotics proceeds.

In count 10 it is charged that Clanton, Jacobs, Jason Boone, Vincent, Moody and Jackson attempted to possess with the intent to distribute 5 or more kilos of cocaine.

Count 11 alleges money laundering by Clanton, Jacobs, Jason Boone, Vincent, Moody and Jackson around Feb. 20 of last year.

Count 12 is another bribery count against Jacobs where she purportedly agreed to accept cash to protect shipments of narcotics and their proceeds.

Count 13 is a bribery count against Jason Boone where he purportedly agreed to accept cash to protect shipments of narcotics and their proceeds.

Count 14 is another bribery count against Jacobs.

Count 15 is another money laundering count against Clanton and Jacobs.

Count 16 is another bribery count against Jacobs.

Count 17 is a bribery count against Jason Boone.

Count 18 is a bribery count against Curtis Boone.

Count 19 alleges that Clanton, Jason Boone, Vincent, Jackson, Pair and Curtis Boone attempted to possess with the intent to distribute 1 kilo or more of heroin.

Count 20 charges that Clanton, Jason Boone, Vincent, Jackson, Pair and Curtis Boone carried firearms in relation to a drug trafficking crime around May 20 of 2014.

Count 21 is a bribery charge against Boone.

Count 21 is a bribery charge against Pair.

Count 23 is a bribery charge against Curtis Boone.

Count 24 charges that Clanton, Jason Boone, Vincent, Jackson, Pair and Allen conspired around June 18, 2014, to distribute more than 5 kilos of cocaine.

Count 25 is a bribery charge against Jason Boone

Count 26 is a bribery charge against Pair.

Count 27 is a bribery charge against Allen.

Count 28 alleges that around August 20, 2014, Clanton, Jacobs, Jason Boone, Vincent, Moody, Pair, Tillmon, Kamling, Phillips and Pierce attempted to possess and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin.

Count 29 is another bribery charge against Jacobs.

Count 30 is a bribery charge against Boone.

Count 31 is a bribery charge against Pair.

Count 32 is a bribery count against Tillmon.

Count 33 alleges that around Oct. 22, 2014, Jacobs, Moody, Tillmon, Kamling, Phillips and Pierce attempted to possess and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin.

Count 34 alleges use of firearms against Jacobs, Moody, Tillmon, Kamling, Phillips and Pierce in relation to drug trafficking.

Count 35 is a another bribery count against Jacobs.

Count 36 is another bribery count against Tillmon.

Count 37 charges that around Dec. 16, 2014, Clanton, Jason Boone, Vincent, Jackson, Pair and Ponton attempted to possess and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin.

Count 38 is another use and carry firearm charge against Clanton, Jason Boone, Vincent, Jackson, Pair, Curtis Boone and Ponton.

Count 39 is a bribery charge against Jason Boone.

Count 40 is a bribery charge against Pair.

Count 41 is a bribery charge against Curtis Boone.

Count 42 alleges that on February 24 of this year, Clanton, Jason Boone, Jackson, Pair, Curtis Boone and Ponton tried to obtain and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin.

Count 43 alleges use and carry of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking against Clanton, Jason Boone, Jackson, Pair, Curtis Boone and Ponton.

Count 43 is a bribery charge against Jason Boone.

Count 45 is a bribery charge against Pair.

Count 46 is a bribery charge against Curtis Boone.

Count 47 is a bribery charge against Dailey.

Count 48 charges that last month on March 26, Clanton, Jacobs, Jason Boone, Vincent, Moody, Jackson, Pair, Curtis Boone, Tillmon, Kamling, Phillips and Dailey attempted to buy and distribute more than 1 kilo of heroin.

Count 49 charges Jacobs, Moody, Tillmon, Kamling and Phillips used guns in relation to drug trafficking.

Count 50 charges Jacobs with bribery.

Count 51 charges Jason Boone with bribery.

Count 52 charges Pair with bribery.

Count 53 charges Curtis Boone with bribery.

Count 54 charges Tillmon with bribery.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina and Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Division made the announcement at a 1 p.m. press conference.

“Corruption in local government – especially involving law enforcement – threatens the social compact that binds our communities together,” said Caldwell. “When the officer with a gun and a badge is no different from the trafficker peddling drugs in the street, we all suffer. That is why the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners in North Carolina and throughout the country are determined to root out corruption, wherever and in whatever form it may be found.”

“The actions by these individuals are particularly troubling due to their current and past affiliation with law enforcement,” said Walker. “Their alleged conduct was reprehensible and my office will not tolerate this kind of corruption in our district. I am grateful for the outstanding work of the FBI Special Agents who investigated this case.”

“They vowed to protect and serve, but instead these deputies and correctional officers sold their badges and used their law enforcement positions to line their own pockets,” said Strong. “Public corruption at any level is the number one criminal priority of the FBI and we will work aggressively to protect the public trust.”