• 52°

Day of Reckoning

By LANCE MARTIN
rrspin.com

GREENVILLE – United States Senior Judge Malcolm J. Howard has set two days aside next week for the sentencing of the remaining 14 defendants in the Operation Rockfish police corruption case.

Judge Howard scheduled Wednesday and Thursday, June 14 and 15, as sentencing dates. The first is scheduled at 9 a.m. on June 14 at the federal courthouse in Greenville for Adrienne Moody, Cory Jackson, Jimmy Pair Jr., Curtis Boone and Alaina Sue-Kam-Ling. That afternoon (beginning at 1 p.m.), Lann Tjuan Clanton, Ikeisha Jacobs, Jason Boone and Wardie Vincent Jr. are scheduled to be sentenced. Vincent was the first to take a plea in the case.

The remaining defendants are scheduled for sentencing on June 15 at 1 p.m. in Greenville. They are Kavon Phillips, Crystal Pierce, Alphonso Ponton, Thomas Jefferson Allen II and Tohsa Rochelle Dailey.

The only defendant not to accept a plea was former Windsor Police Officer Antonio Tillmon. A federal jury in Greenville found him guilty late last month of drug, firearm and bribery charges stemming from his participation in trafficking narcotics and narcotics proceeds for a large-scale drug trafficking organization.

Court records show that Tillmon is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 12, also in Greenville.

The Operation Rockfish police corruption sting contains 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 (DTO) that was actually an undercover operation by the FBI. The first count charges the conspiracy was ongoing since around Nov. 7, 2013. The activity continued until the arrests were made in April of 2015.

According to previous reports gathered from documents contained in the federal court records the involvement of each defendant in the conspiracy and that background information is as follows:

Lann Tjuan Clanton is a former correctional officer in Virginia and Weldon Police officer. He faces 19 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 years.

Bribe/illicit payments received by Clanton in the operations totaled $41,350 cash, and a Rolex watch (value of $9,000).

Additional evidence shows Clanton was the first defendant to participate in what was an undercover operation. He stated that he had conducted robberies of vehicles he stopped with money or drugs, and had stated during robberies, “We can do this two ways. You can hand it over right here or I can call a K9 and get a search warrant.”

The FBI learned that he was paid by known criminals to take official police action in exchange for cash payments; assumed leadership role in the drug trafficking operation; recruited others for the DTO (Drug Trafficking Organization, which was actually an undercover operation set up by the FBI); told an undercover agent that he was useful to her because he had police shirt and gun; committed extortion offense with visible firearm; attended interdiction class taught by Vincent on how to avoid law enforcement detection while transporting drugs for the DTO; and carried a firearm during Operation 15.

Ikeisha Jacobs is a former sergeant with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, former Weldon police officer, and former North Carolina correctional officer. She faces 20 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $23,420 cash; and a Rolex watch (value of $2,750).

Selected evidence shows that Jacobs attended her initial DTO recruitment meeting in uniform and in a patrol car; assumed leadership role and recruited others in the DTO; stated that for the past three years she had been transporting drugs and drug proceeds for a real DTO; attempted to broker a deal between two DTOs; at her request, the DTO paid for her to attend the 2014 North Carolina Narcotics Officers Conference so she could alert the DTO to sensitive law enforcement information she learned at conference; pulled out firearm in vehicle in Operation 4 and racked bullet into chamber; carried firearm in small of her back in Operation 12; and attended interdiction class taught by Vincent on how to avoid law enforcement detection while transporting drugs for the DTO.

Jason Boone is a former captain with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. He faces 21 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 65 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $15,500.

Evidence shows that J. Boone attended an interdiction class taught by Vincent on how to avoid law enforcement detection while transporting drugs for the DTO.

Wardie Vincent Jr. is a former detective sergeant with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia correctional officer. He faces 11 counts (prior to his plea) and faces a mandatory minimum sentence (before plea) of 40 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $18,500.

According to information from the FBI, Vincent associated with known drug dealers; proposed and taught interdiction class to co-defendants on how to avoid law enforcement detection while transporting drugs for the DTO; drove load 2 vehicle in Operation 9; discussed how to recruit others, including a family member, for the DTO and expansion of the DTO to Virginia and New Jersey; was in possession of his NCSO badge on the day of arrest, although he resigned from NCSO in April 2013.

Adrienne Moody is a former North Carolina correctional officer that faces nine counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $14,600.

Other evidence shows she asked a member of the DTO to front her 10 kg of drugs so she could distribute them on her own; attended pre-operation meeting with members of the DTO during which location of drugs in load vehicle and firearms were discussed and indicated she would be carrying a firearm the following day.

Cory Jackson is a former deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. He faces 12 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 65 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $14,000.

Evidence shows that Jacobs helped load tractor trailer with drugs in Operation 8; recruited Pair and Allen; and was in possession of his NCSO ID card on the day of arrest, though he left the NCSO in 2013.

Jimmy Pair Jr. is a former lieutenant with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office; facing 17 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 65 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $11,500.

Additional evidence shows Pair carried a firearm in Operations 8 and 15; drove load vehicle in Operation 16; and recruited another defendant to join the DTO.

Curtis Boone is a former Northampton County Sheriff’s Office deputy; facing 14 counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 65 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $10,000.

Other evidence show he attended a  meeting with undercover agents, whom he believed to be members of the DTO, while working security at Northampton County High School in police uniform and with his service weapon; and was present for discussion with undercover agents about recruiting more law enforcement officers for the DTO, including expanding outside North Carolina.

Sue-Kam-Ling is a former North Carolina correctional officer; facing seven counts (prior to a plea) and a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years (pre-plea).

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $6,500.

Selected evidence shows she was a passenger in load vehicle in Operation 12; carried a firearm in Operation 16 given to her by Tillmon; and attended pre-operation meeting with members of the DTO during which location of drugs in load vehicle and firearms were discussed.

Kavon Phillips is a former North Carolina correctional officer; facing seven counts (pre-plea) and a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years (pre-plea).

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $6,500.

Evidence shows he helped unload drugs in Operation 12; and was a passenger in load vehicle in Operation 16.

Alphonso Ponton is a former correctional sergeant in Virginia; facing six counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 40 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $2,500.

Thomas Jefferson Allen is a former sergeant and deputy in the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office and former deputy in Halifax and Gates counties. He faces four counts and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

Total bribe/illicit payments received: $2,000.

Other evidence showed that Allen informed the DTO of his ties to Russia, the former KGB, and the Russian mafia; offered to connect members of the DTO with criminal associates in Russia so the DTO could expand operations; and repeatedly stated he wanted to recruit federal law enforcement officers to join the DTO.

Court documents were not included for Pierce (a private citizen from Raleigh) or Dailey (a former 911 dispatch operator for Northampton County).

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