Crime

Former NC law enforcement and corrections officers plead to drug conspiracy charges

A federal drug sting operation that started almost three years ago with a tip to the Halifax County’s sheriff’s office ended on Tuesday with former law enforcement officers and corrections officers entering guilty pleas to drug conspiracy charges.

The drug investigation, which began in April 2013, ended in April 2015 with federal charges filed 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.

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

The arrests were announced at a news conference in which top federal prosecutors and state and federal law enforcement agents offered a glimpse of what they described as a coordinated attempt to move what the accused thought were large shipments of cocaine and heroin through North Carolina to other East Coast states.

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, prosecutors said at the time.

The following pleas were entered Tuesday:

▪  Lann Tjuan Clanton, a former correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and firearm charges;

▪  Ikeisha Jacobs, a former sergeant with the Northampton County sheriff’s office, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy, firearm and bribery charges;

▪  Jason Boone, a former captain with Northampton County, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and bribery charges;

▪  Adrienne Moody, a former correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge;

▪  Cory Jackson, a former Northampton County deputy, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy;

▪  Jimmy Pair Jr., a former Northampton County sheriff’s lieutenant, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and bribery charges;

▪  Curtis Boone, a former Northampton County deputy, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and bribery charges;

▪  Alphonso Ponton, a former sergeant with the Virginia Department of Corrections, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge; and

▪  Thomas Jefferson Allen II, a former Northampton County sheriff’s sergeant, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and bribery charges.

Five people connected to the case had previously entered guilty pleas. They included:

▪  Wardie Vincent Jr., a former detective sergeant with the Northampton County sheriff’s department, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and firearms charges;

▪  Alaina Sue-Kam-Ling, a former N.C. correctional officer, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge;

▪  Kavon Phillips, a former N.C. correctional officer, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge;

▪  Crystal Pierce, a Raleigh resident who knew the accused, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge; and

▪  Tosha Dailey, a former emergency dispatch operator for Northampton County, pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge.

As part of their pleas, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which spans from Raleigh to the coast, the defendants acknowledged that they understood they had been recruited to be a part of the operation because of their status as law enforcement officers or ties to law enforcement.

Anne Blythe: 919-836-4948, @AnneBlythe1

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