U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
(404) 581-6000
May 12, 2015

Two Former Hall County Sheriff’s Office Employees Plead Guilty to Bribery and Possession of Drugs

GAINESVILLE, GA—David M. Treadwell and Austin Herring have pleaded guilty in separate cases to criminal charges arising from corrupt actions they took when they were employed by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. Treadwell pleaded guilty to accepting a bribe to tip off a person he believed was a drug dealer, if the person came under investigation by Hall County law enforcement. Herring pleaded guilty to attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.

“Both of these defendants breached the trust of the people of Hall County by taking actions that—had they occurred outside the context of an undercover investigation—could have endangered others or permitted other crimes to occur,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Each defendant has now forfeited his career in law enforcement, and could face prison as a result of his corrupt actions.”

“Ethics and integrity is paramount for those working within law enforcement due to the many temptations that can arise and lead to an officer violating their oath of office as well as the law,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “These guilty pleas represent two cases where two promising law enforcement officers gave in to those temptations and now face serious consequences for their criminal actions.”

“Few crimes are as reprehensible as those committed by officers who violate the very laws they are sworn to uphold,” said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. “The actions of David Treadwell and Austin Herring undermines the efforts of all law enforcement that honorably perform their duties.”

According to Acting United States Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: In late 2014, while Treadwell was employed as a deputy sheriff with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, he accepted $200 or $300 on five occasions from a person he believed was a drug dealer. In exchange for the money, Treadwell agreed to alert the drug dealer if Treadwell learned that the drug dealer was under investigation in Hall County.

In February 2015, while Herring was employed as a jailer with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, he was paid $500 on two occasions to take a package he was told contained cocaine to an inmate inside the jail. On each occasion Herring took the package to the inmate who was cooperating with the investigation. The inmate then turned the package over to investigators. Herring did not open or tamper with either package, but on each occasion he was specifically told by the person who gave it to him that the package contained cocaine from Mexico. In actuality, neither package contained a controlled substance.

David M. Treadwell, 33, of Gainesville, Georgia, and Austin Herring, 19, of Murrayville, Georgia, have both been fired by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Both cases are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the North Georgia Major Offenders Task Force which includes deputy sheriffs from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney William L. McKinnon, Jr. is prosecuting both cases.

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