Thirteen current and former law enforcement officers and two other individuals have been indicted and arrested for allegedly protecting narcotics shipments and cash proceeds during transit along the east coast for what they believed was a large-scale drug trafficking organization that was actually an undercover operation by the FBI.
The two-year operation, called Operation Rockfish, resulted in the arrests of six current members of the Northampton County (NC) Sheriff's Office (five deputies and one dispatcher), two former deputies with the Northampton Sheriff's Office, one Windsor police officer and two Virginia Dept of Corrections correctional officers.
The following individuals were indicted:
- Lann Tjuan Clanton, 36, a correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections
- Ikeisha Jacobs, 32, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Jason Boone, 29, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Wardie Vincent Jr., 35, formerly of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Adrienne Moody, 39, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
- Cory Jackson, 43, formerly of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Jimmy Pair Jr., 48, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Curtis Boone, 31, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Antonio Tillmon, 31, a police officer with the Windsor City Police Department
- Alaina Sue Kamling, 27, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
- Kavon Phillips, 25, a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety
- Crystal Pierce, 31, of Raleigh, North Carolina
- Alphonso Ponton, 42, a correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections
- Thomas Jefferson Allen II, 37, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
- Tosha Dailey, 31, a 911 dispatch operator for Northampton County.
All 15 defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute controlled substances and conspiring to use and carry firearms during and in relation to drug trafficking offenses. Other charges against certain defendants include attempted extortion, attempted possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, money laundering, federal programs bribery and use and carry of firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.
One of the defendants, 32-year-old Ikeisha Jacobs, was involved in an undercover operation called "Operation Double Down," that occurred from May 16th, 2013 to March 5th, 2014 in Elizabeth City. The operation used two undercover police officers from areas outside of Elizabeth City to purchase illegal drugs from street level dealers in the city. At the time, Jacobs was employed by the Weldon Police Department and was sent to participate in the operation.
Following the announcement of Jacobs' indictment with the 12 other law enforcement officers, the Elizabeth City Police Department, along with the District Attorney's Office, say they will be reviewing the cases associated with Operation Double Down.
Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith describes the arrests of his officers as heartbreaking.
"I felt they had dishonored the badge, tarnished the badge and broken their oath of office," he says.
Smith says he fired all five of his deputies that were indicted on the day they were arrested. But despite the stain on his agency, the sheriff says most of his deputies are good, hardworking people. Now, he says, he has no choice but to move on.
"This is a very bad thing, no doubt. But also it can be a good thing because at least we know there are five people that will not be doing things like this in this agency," he says.
All of those charged in Northampton County are scheduled to be in federal court on Wednesday.