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Monday, February 12, 2007

ANOTHER FORMER ROBESON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY PLEADS GUILTY

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced today that VINCENT SINCLAIR, age 44, of Red Springs, North Carolina plead guilty in federal court before U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. SINCLAIR plead guilty to a three-count Criminal Information. Count One charged a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of cocaine in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Count Two charged a conspiracy to commit kidnaping in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201(c). Finally, Count Three charged the use and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A).

The investigation showed that, in December 2003, SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators planned to rob a local drug dealer, of money and drugs after he left a card game. SINCLAIR, along with another former Robeson County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped the local drug dealer after he was notified that the local drug dealer had left the card game. SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators duct taped the local drug dealer and transported him to a wooded area where he was beaten. After SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators beat the local drug dealer, SINCLAIR called his girlfriend and had her drop off 2 kilograms of cocaine and $150,000.00 in cash at a predetermined location. All participants received approximately $30,000 as their cut for participating in the scheme.

In February 2004, SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators drove from Robeson County to Virginia where, with their weapons drawn, they approached two individuals they believed were transporting a significant amount of money. SINCLAIR and another of his co-conspirators wore police badges as the approached the two men. SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators ordered the men to get into their van and the victims were driven to North Carolina and interrogated. The men denied having any money. One of SINCLAIR’s co-conspirators shot one of the victims in the leg. Later, during the trip to North Carolina, the victims escaped while the van was stopped at a gas station. After the victims escaped, SINCLAIR and his co-conspirators fled the scene.

Based on these facts, SINCLAIR plead guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine, kidnaping and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. All of the offenses described above were committed while SINCLAIR was employed as a deputy with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.

Pursuant to his plea agreement, SINCLAIR faces a maximum sentences of no less than 5 years imprisonment, no more than 40 years imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, four years supervised release and a $100 special assessment, for Count One. As to Count Two of the Criminal Information, SINCLAIR faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, five years supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Finally, as to Count Three of the Criminal Information, SINCLAIR faces a maximum sentence of no less than 5 years imprisonment, no more than life imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence imposed, a $250,000 fine, five years supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

As a part of his plea agreement, SINCLAIR agreed to waive his right to indictment by a federal grand jury and to assist investigators. SINCLAIR's actual sentence will be determined by the Court using the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are advisory. Sentencing will be at a later date.

This case is a part of the Operation Tarnished Badge investigation of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office. To date, Operation Tarnished Badge has resulted in eleven convictions to various federal criminal violations, including, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the government, conspiracy to commit satellite piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnaping, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and the use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Operation Tarnished Badge is an ongoing investigation at this time.

The investigative agencies involved in Operation Tarnished Badge are the U. S. Department of Revenue, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, the U. S. Secret Service, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Bradsher and Wes Camden are handling the case for the United States Attorney's Office.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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