Former Narcotics Task Force Officer Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Embezzling Seized Money
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced the former commander of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force to one year and a day in prison for stealing at least $125,000 from suspected drug proceeds seized by the multi-agency task force, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
JEFFREY LYNN SNYDER, 55, of Carrollton, pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft from a program that received more than $10,000 in federal benefits within a one-year period. U.S. District Court Judge Inge P. Johnson sentenced Snyder to prison and, in accordance with the plea agreement he entered with the government in May, ordered him to pay $125,000 restitution to the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force.
The U.S. Attorney's Office charged Snyder in May with embezzling the task force money between June 2010 and June 2012, when he left the task force.
"Joint task force operations are an important part of the combined law enforcement effort to control illegal drug trafficking. This theft by a city police captain impaired the financial condition of the unit and violated the trust placed in him by fellow officers," Vance said. "Police officers who violate their oath to protect and serve the public are rare, but those who breach that trust must be prosecuted and held to account."
"Honesty and integrity are fundamental guiding principles for any law enforcement officer, regardless of rank or position," Schwein said. "Fortunately, Mr. Snyder's actions are not reflective of the vast majority of the men and women in law enforcement who go to work every day to protect and serve while upholding the principles of honesty and integrity. Today, Mr. Snyder pays the price for his actions and is being held accountable for violating the trust the good people of West Alabama placed in him."
The West Alabama Narcotics Task Force is composed of officers from the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, Northport Police Department and University of Alabama Police Department. It is tasked to investigate all drug crimes in Tuscaloosa County.
Snyder was a 29-year member of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, retiring as a captain in December 2012. He was detailed to the narcotics task force in 1989 and became its commander in June 2002, according to court records.
Task force members periodically seized money suspected to be proceeds of illegal drug transactions and turned the money in to Snyder, who was responsible for depositing the money into bank accounts while condemnation proceedings were pursued through court, according to his plea agreement. Snyder was entrusted to receive the seized money, log it in task force ledger books and deposit it in task force bank accounts.
Snyder began embezzling from the seized funds no later than June 2010. He executed his scheme "by pocketing some or all of the funds seized during various arrests, and then failing to correctly account for those funds," he acknowledged in his plea agreement.
The FBI investigated the case, with assistance from the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Cornelius prosecuted the case.
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