More than a dozen law enforcement officers, including 11 in North Carolina, have been arrested in a government sting that included the FBI, the government announced last week.
WRAL-TV reported on Wednesday that each of the NC officers who were indicted have since confessed, according to prosecutors.
Thomas Walker, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, said multiple people were arrested in a major sting of cocaine and heroin operations. Those arrested include five current members of the Northampton County sheriff’s office.
They were charged with trafficking cocaine and heroin up and down the I-95 corridor.
On Wednesday in court, prosecutors showed photos and video of alleged wrong-doing, WRAL reported.
“They all gave some sort of confession,” a prosecutor told the judge, according to the TV station. “Each of these defendants admitted to their involvement.”
Nine of the officers were not granted bail on Wednesday because the judge said he needed more time to review the case, according to WRAL.
Walker said there were arrests at an airport in Halifax County and a warehouse in Rocky Mount. A second group was arrested at a warehouse in Rocky Mount. The undercover operation, called “Operation Rockfish,” has been ongoing for about a year and a half.
Eight current or former officers
Three correctional officers
Two Virginia prison employees
One 911 dispatcher in Northampton County
“This crime is a breach of the public’s trust,” said John Strong, a special agent for the North Carolina FBI. Strong said law enforcement officials used their positions “to line their own pockets.” He added that “Public corruption will not be tolerated.”
Asked the reaction by FBI officers to the charges that officers were involved in this, Strong said that the reaction was “shock and disbelief.”
Also shocked was Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith.
“I’m hurt and surprised,” he told WNCN. “I’m shocked and appalled at these types of indictments. We can’t tolerate this type of behavior, especially from law enforcement.”
Smith said Northampton has 35 deputies, plus some part-time employees, and the loss of five deputies “is a big blow.”
Smith said he found out about the arrests Thursday morning.
“They’ve let me down. They’ve let the sheriff’s office down,” Smith said. “They’ve let the citizens down as well as their families. Most of them have children and they’ve let the down as well.”
Walker said the investigation is ongoing and other arrests are possible.
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