WASHINGTON – A former corrections officer and a former Arizona Army National Guardsmen were sentenced this week for their roles in a widespread bribery and extortion conspiracy, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today. The defendants were sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Tucson Division, by the Honorable Cynthia K. Jorgenson.
The charges arise from Operation Lively Green, an undercover investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that began in December 2001. Nine additional defendants have been sentenced and 44 others have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
The two sentenced this week were:
*Roman A. De La Mora, 30, a former Arizona Department of Corrections officer, was sentenced to seven months in prison, a $3300 fine, and three years supervised release; and
*Darius W. Perry, 42, a former Sergeant First Class in the Arizona Army National Guard, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, a $52,000 fine, and three years supervised release.
The defendants had each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to enrich themselves by obtaining cash bribes from persons they believed to be narcotics traffickers, but who were in fact FBI special agents, in return for the defendants using their official positions to assist, protect and participate in the activities of an illegal narcotics trafficking organization engaged in the business of transporting and distributing cocaine from Arizona to other locations in the southwestern United States. In order to protect the shipments of cocaine, the defendants wore official uniforms and carried official forms of identification, used official vehicles, and used their color of authority where necessary to prevent police stops, searches and seizures of the narcotics as they drove the cocaine shipments on highways that passed through checkpoints manned by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Nevada law enforcement officers.
These cases are part of a joint investigation being conducted by the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF), which is comprised of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Department of Homeland Security, and the Tucson Police Department. Though not part of the SACTF, the Arizona Air National Guard, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service are also participating in the investigation.
The cases are being prosecuted by senior trial attorney John W. Scott and trial attorney Michael Ferrara of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, headed by Chief William M. Welch II. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma has also secured the guilty pleas of seven defendants in a related investigation, Operation Tarnished Star.