Former Highland Park Police Officer Pleads Guilty to
Extortion Conspiracy to Protect a Cocaine Shipment
A Highland Park Police officer pleaded guilty today to conspiring with three other police officers to commit extortion and protect a shipment of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III.
During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, Craig Clayton, 55, of Highland Park, Michigan, admitted that in late 2012 and early 2013, he agreed with three other Highland Park police officers to take money in exchange for protecting a four-kilogram shipment of cocaine. Clayton admitted that on January 23, 2013, he drove a car containing what he believed to be two kilograms of cocaine. Clayton brought his police badge and gun to protect the shipment. Another Highland Park police officer drove a separate car containing what he believed were two additional kilograms of cocaine. Later, Clayton accepted $1,500 in cash from an FBI informant for his work in delivering and protecting the drug shipment.
United States Attorney McQuade said, "Police officers who take bribes have no place in law enforcement. They will be prosecuted for violating their duties to serve the public.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, “Police officers who swear an oath to serve and protect are held to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. The FBI is committed to ensuring those standards are maintained, and in cases of abuse, will pursue and prosecute those responsible."
Based on his guilty plea and felony conviction for conspiring to commit extortion, Clayton is facing a maximum of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Gardey.