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‘Rockfish’ group released

By LANCE MARTIN

rrspin.com

GREENVILLE – The remaining 12 defendants who remained incarcerated in the Operation Rockfish police corruption case have been released until their arraignment date in federal court in December.

According to documents filed in the federal court record, the 12 had their detention hearings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in Greenville. Prior to those hearings, the 12 men were jailed in various facilities in the state since their arrests back in late April.

On Tuesday, Senior Judge Malcolm J. Howard heard detention hearings for Lann Clanton, Cory Jackson, Ikeisha Jacobs, Jason Boone, Adrienne Moody and Jimmy Pair Jr. Curtis Boone, Antonio Tillmon, Alania Sue-Kam-Ling, Kavon Phillips, Alphonso Ponton and Thomas Jefferson Allen III had their detention hearings on Wednesday.

“(The) Court took up each case individually thereafter. After hearing arguments from counsel for all defendants and from counsel for USA, the court determined that each defendant could be released on special conditions. All defendants were released after processing,” the court entry says.

Clanton was given home detention, according to the conditions of his pre-trial release. Documents for the others do not have home detention checked off in their release sheets.

The applicable conditions for all 12 include, among other factors, for them not to leave the Eastern District without approval of probation; avoid contact with all defendants; not possess firearms; not unlawfully possess narcotics and as well not excessively use alcohol. Other conditions set by the judge include they must not violate federal, state, or local law while on release; must cooperate in the collection of a DNA sample if it is authorized; must advise the court or the pretrial services office or supervising officer in writing before making any change of residence or telephone number; must appear in court as required and, if convicted, must surrender as directed to serve a sentence that the court may impose.

Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp, whose office received the initial tips in the probe, said, “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and that also includes former law enforcement officers. Detention is not meant for punishment and the government and their defendants will have their day in court.”

Jacobs, J. Boone, Jackson, Pair, C. Boone, and Allen are all former deputies with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. Tillmon is a former officer with the Windsor Police Department.

Another former Northampton deputy involved in the sting operation, Wardie Vincent Jr., recently agreed to a plea arrangement for the charges against him. Also involved in the sting was Tosha Dailey, formerly a 911 dispatch operator for Northampton County. She was released from detention earlier in the federal process.

The Operation Rockfish police corruption sting contains a 54-count federal indictment that alleges 13 the 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 undercover operation also led to the arrests of Clanton and Ponton, correctional officers with the Virginia Department of Corrections; Moody, Kam-Ling, and Phillips, all correctional officers with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety; and Crystal Pierce of Raleigh. Pierce was also earlier released from jail.

The first count charges the conspiracy was ongoing since Nov. 7, 2013 and continued up until the day all 15 were arrested on April 30.

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