FORMER CORRECTION OFFICERS PLEAD GUILTY IN DRUG TRAFFICKING SCHEME
Wifredo R. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announced today that three former Moore Haven Correctional facility guards pleaded guilty to charges arising from their roles in a narcotics conspiracy.
In a plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra, Dameyenoe Francis, 26, of Moore Haven, Jerry Thicklin, 27, of Clewiston, and Derrick Jackson, 32, of Clewiston each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.
At the plea hearing, the defendants, guards employed at Moore Haven Correction facility in Moore Haven, Florida, acknowledged that they had provided assistance to individuals who they believed to be drug traffickers. FBI undercover agents posing as members of a drug trafficking group asked the defendants to protect their purported drug trafficking operation in exchange for cash. Each of the defendants then carried what they believed to be multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine, in reality sham cocaine, from Miami to West Palm Beach in exchange for cash.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 3, 2010 before Judge Marra. Each defendant faces a sentence of at least ten years and up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4,000,000, and up to lifetime supervised release.
The undercover operation that resulted in the charges against Francis, Thicklin, and Jackson also led to charges against guards at Glades Correctional, in Belle Glade, Florida. Sixteen individuals, including thirteen corrections officers, were charged in an earlier case, United States v. Latess Hill, et al., Case No. 10-80019-Cr-Middlebrooks. The sixteen defendants in that cases all pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 21 to 57 months in federal prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen Carlton and Julia Paylor.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.