Three Police Officers Plead Guilty to Accepting Bribes to Protect Drug Deals
ATLANTA—Six defendants, including three former police officers, pleaded guilty this week in federal court to accepting thousands of dollars in cash payments to provide protection during staged drug deals that were part of a federal undercover operation.
“The audacity of police officers protecting drug deals is shocking,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “For these police officers, protecting and serving our citizens was little more than a slogan, and their brazen actions are unacceptable. Brave and honest law enforcement officers go to work every day to keep us safe, expecting their colleagues to serve the community unselfishly. Instead, these officers put greed before all else.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “Public corruption investigations, particularly those involving law enforcement officers, remain one of the FBI’s top criminal investigative priorities. The FBI extends its gratitude to its ATF partners for highlighting the corruption aspect of its case early on, which allowed the FBI to dedicate its investigative resources accordingly.”
“These defendants took an oath to uphold the law and protect the citizens,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Ray Brown. “Instead, they betrayed the community they swore to protect. Officers like these unfortunately tarnish the badge worn proudly by the committed men and women of law enforcement. The success of this investigation would not have been possible without the dynamic level of law enforcement cooperation.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: the undercover operation arose out of an ATF investigation of an Atlanta, Georgia-area street and drug gang in August 2011. During the investigation, ATF agents learned from an individual associated with the gang that police officers were involved in protecting the gang’s criminal operations, including drug trafficking crimes. That individual could not specifically identify the officers but provided investigators with the officers’ nicknames. Shortly after the investigation began, three individuals who have pleaded guilty, Shannon Bass, Jerry Mannery, and Elizabeth Coss, none of whom were police officers, provided officers’ names to a police informant and told the informant that the officers would provide security for drug deals in exchange for cash.
The public corruption investigation, conducted by FBI and ATF agents, led to the indictment of 10 law enforcement officers. Three of the indicted officers have pleaded guilty. They are former Stone Mountain Police Officer Denoris Carter, 43, of Lithonia, Georgia; former DeKalb County Police Officers Dennis Duren, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Dorian Williams, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia. All three officers were fired after their arrests in February 2013 and are no longer police officers.
In addition to the officers, three others pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme: Shannon Bass, 39, of Atlanta, Georgia, Elizabeth Coss, 36, also of Atlanta; and Jerry B. Mannery, 39, of Tucker, Georgia.
Between April and September 2012, former Stone Mountain Police Department Officer Denoris Carter, working together with Jerry Mannery, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were five separate transactions in the metro Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For all five transactions, Carter was on duty and dressed in his police uniform. During one transaction, he drove up in his marked patrol vehicle, got out, and walked through the parking lot to keep watch over the purported drug deal. During the final transaction, Carter was on foot and wore a gun on his belt. Denoris Carter pleaded guilty to one count of attempted distribution of cocaine and one count of extortion by accepting a bribe to use his position as a police officer to facilitate the deal.
Between October 2011 and November 2011, former DeKalb County Police Officer Dennis Duren, working together with Shannon Bass, provided protection for what he and Bass believed were four separate drug deals in the Atlanta area. During the transactions, Duren, who was on duty, armed and in uniform, stood watch over the immediate area surrounding the undercover transaction. Dennis Duren pleaded guilty to one count of attempted distribution of cocaine and one count of extortion by accepting a bribe to use his position as a police officer to facilitate the deal. Bass pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of cocaine.
Between January and February 2013, former DeKalb County Police Officer Dorian Williams, working together with Mannery and Bass, provided protection for what he believed to be three drug deals involving multiple kilograms of cocaine. On each occasion, Williams was in uniform and carrying a gun. He used his marked police vehicle to patrol the parking lots where the deals took place. Williams admitted that he specifically protected the drug deals from interference from legitimate police officers. Dorian Williams pleaded guilty to one count of attempted distribution and one count of extortion by accepting a bribe to use his position as a police officer to facilitate a deal. Mannery pleaded guilty to conspiring with the police officers to distribute cocaine.
Elizabeth Coss pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of cocaine for her role in working with former MARTA police officer Marquez Holmes to provide security for a drug deal in August 2012.
The court will likely sentence the defendants this summer.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kim S. Dammers and Brent Alan Gray are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division ishttp://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.