Former Mendenhall Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Extortion, Bribery, and Theft
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 08, 2014|
JACKSON—Bruce Barlow, 50, former chief of police for the Mendenhall Police Department in Mendenhall, Mississippi, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit extortion, bribery, and theft during this tenure as Mendenhall police chief, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Barlow on February 5, 2013, charging him with conspiracy, extortion, bribery, and witness tampering. A subsequent superseding indictment was returned against Barlow on May 14, 2013, which included additional charges of bribery, theft, and obstruction of justice.
From January 2010 through July 2010, Barlow instructed Mendenhall police officers to pull people over and find ways to get access into and search people’s vehicles. He also instructed his officers to seize cash at every arrest, including money from people arrested for misdemeanor charges.
When Barlow was interviewed by FBI agents on March 7, 2013, he admitted to stealing money and property and allowing others to take property that had been taken from victims after an arrest or detention and seized by the Mendenhall Police Department.
As part of his plea agreement, Barlow agreed to make restitution to the victims of the crime and forfeit any money or property related to the crime. Barlow also agreed to never be employed by any governmental entity in the future.
Barlow will be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge David C. Bramlette, III on March 25, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bribery and theft carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Extortion, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mike Hurst and Mary Helen Wall are prosecuting the case.