Former Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lands in Federal Prison for Scheme to Steal Narcotics
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 18, 2013|
HOUSTON—Richard Bryan Nutt, 45, a former Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HSCO) deputy, has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiring with others to use his position as a law enforcement officer to steal drug loads from dealers and split the proceeds with others, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Nutt pleaded guilty February 7, 2011.
Today, United States District Judge Vanessa Gilmore sentenced him to 46 months in prison to be followed by a one-year-term of supervised release. At sentencing, Judge Gilmore took into consideration that it was his first offense and that Nutt has more than 20 years in law enforcement and military service. At the hearing, Nutt apologized to the court and to his family.
In late 2010, the Houston Police Department (HPD) obtained information that members of law enforcement were robbing shipments of narcotics in Houston and subsequently initiated a sting operation. On December 15, 2010, then Deputy Nutt met with his co-conspirators, at which time they learned a vehicle containing narcotics or narcotics proceeds would be driving through Houston. They agreed to stop the vehicle, a Chrysler Aspen SUV, with the assistance of Deputy Nutt. He was to conduct a traffic stop of the SUV, which was reportedly to be driven by a drug dealer from Mexico, and pretend to arrest the driver then release him while the co-defendants took the vehicle containing the drugs. The conspirators would then split the money from the sale of the drugs.
Later that day, Nutt, in full uniform and driving a silver pickup equipped with red and blue emergency lights, spotted and followed the Chrysler Aspen SUV as it drove into a parking lot of a Houston area shopping center. Once parked, the SUV driver, actually an undercover HPD officer, abandoned the SUV. A package thought to contain cocaine was then transferred from the SUV to a blue Nissan Altima. Nutt entered the vehicle as it drove off the lot, and it was soon stopped by HPD officers. The package, which actually contained fake cocaine, was found and removed from under the passenger seat where Nutt sat. Nutt and his co-defendants were arrested by law enforcement officers and subsequently charged federally.
Others involved in the scheme have all pleaded guilty and also been sentenced to prison.
Nutt, previously released on bond, was allowed to continue on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Affairs and Narcotics Divisions of the Houston Police Department with the assistance of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James McAlister.