‘Rockfish’ group accepted thousands in bribe money

Published 8:32 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker in a response opposing pretrial release of 13 of the 15 charged in the Operation Rockfish police corruption case spells out the specific number of transports as well the amount of purported drugs shipped and bribe and extortion payments received.

The response, which is contained in the federal court record of the Eastern District of North Carolina, was filed by Walker on May 29.

A United States Court judge upheld a magistrate judge’s ruling to keep the 13 in the federal custody. They are Lann Clanton, Ikeisha Jacobs, Jason Boone, Wardie Vincent Jr., Adrienne Moody, Corey Jackson, Jimmy Pair Jr., Curtis Boone, Antonio Tillmon, Alania Sue-Kam-Ling, Kawon Phillips, Alphonso Ponton and Thomas Jefferson Allen II.

“At the detention hearings, the evidence showed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated an undercover investigation in response to reports of corrupt activity by law enforcement officers,” Walker wrote in the response. “During the course of the investigation, deputy sheriffs with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, a Windsor City Police Department Officer, several correctional officers, and others were recorded transporting what they believed were narcotics and narcotics proceeds for a large-scale drug trafficking organization in exchange for bribe payments.”

Walker notes there were 14 separate transport operations, and another was to occur the day of the defendants’ arrest on April 30.

“The defendants believed the DTO (Drug Trafficking Organization) to consist of real drug traffickers,” he said. “At the time of their arrest, the defendants were either current officers with the Northampton Sheriff’s Office (Jacobs, Jason Boone, Pair, Curtis Boone, and Allen); former officers with NCSO (Vincent and Jackson); a current police officer for the Windsor Police Department (Tillmon); or current correctional officers (Clanton, Moody, Sue-Kam-Ling, Phillips, and Ponton).”

Walker stated evidence introduced during the detention hearings established the defendants understood they were recruited to work for the DTO because of their status as law enforcement officers, that they were to bring their badges to protect the drugs from legitimate law enforcement interdiction, and they were to bring guns to protect the drugs from other criminals.

“At the detention hearings, the government presented evidence that the defendants participated in transport operations of substances that they believed to be cocaine and heroin. The defendants also transported bulk cash that was bundled to have the appearance of large quantities of narcotics proceeds,” Walker wrote. “The defendants helped load kilogram packages of drugs into transport vehicles and then drove the load vehicles containing the narcotics, or drove cars to escort the load vehicles, through North Carolina and into Virginia or Maryland.”

These activities, Walker noted, were captured on audio and video recordings and witnessed by undercover FBI special agents.

In total, the defendants transported the following quantities of narcotics and narcotics proceeds and received the following amounts of money:

• Clanton transported 55 kg of cocaine, 60 kg of heroin, and $3 million in narcotics proceeds. Clanton received $41,350 in extortion proceeds and bribe payments, and a Rolex watch valued at $9,000.

• Jacobs transported 25 kg of cocaine, 30 kg of heroin, $3 million in narcotics proceeds. Jacobs received $23,420 in bribe payments and a Rolex watch valued at $2,750.

• Jason Boone transported 45 kg of cocaine, 60 kg of heroin, and $2.25 million in narcotics proceeds. Jason Boone received $15,500 in bribe payments.

• Wardie Vincent Jr. transported 45 kg of cocaine, 50 kg of heroin, and $2.75 million in narcotics proceeds. Vincent received $18,500 in payments.

• Moody transported 25 kg of cocaine, 30 kg of heroin, and $2.75 million in narcotics proceeds. Moody received $14,600 in payments.

• Jackson transported 45 kg of cocaine, 50 kg of heroin, and $2.25 million in narcotics proceeds. Jackson received $14,000 in payments.

• Pair transported 20 kg of cocaine and 60 kg of heroin. Pair received $11,500 in payments.

• Curtis Boone transported 20 kg of cocaine, 50 kg of heroin, and $1.5 million in narcotics proceeds. Curtis Boone received $10,000 in payments.

• Tillmon transported 30 kg of heroin. Tillmon received $6,500 in payments.

• Sue-Kam-Ling transported 30 kg of heroin. Sue-Kam-Ling received $6,500 in payments.

• Phillips transported 30 kg of heroin. Phillips received $6,500 in payments.

• Ponton transported 20 kg of heroin. Ponton received $2,500 in payments.

• Allen transported 20 kg of cocaine. Allen received $2,000 in bribe payments.

“On April 30, 2015, the defendants were arrested when they arrived to participate in what would have been the fifteenth transport operation for the DTO,” Walker wrote. “At the time of their arrests, all of the defendants except for Jackson, Moody, and Ponton possessed at least one loaded firearm. All of the defendants except for Jackson provided voluntary statements after their arrests in which they admitted, at least in part, that they had been transporting money and drugs for the DTO, and that they carried firearms, or knew that other defendants carried firearms, during the operations.”

All defendants are scheduled for arraignment at a later date.

(Lance Martin is Editor and Publisher of www.rrspin.com. Permission was granted to republish this story.)