FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - February 14, 2008
FORMER ROBESON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY SENTENCED TO 413 MONTHS
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that in federal court United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced VINCENT SINCLAIR, 44, of Red Springs, North Carolina, to 413 months’ imprisonment, and 5 years supervised release after his release.
SINCLAIR, a former Robeson County Sheriff’s Deputy, was sentenced upon his February 12, 2007, guilty plea to a three-count criminal information that charged him with conspiring with others to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five hundred grams of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; conspiring with others to kidnap two individuals, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201(c); and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1).
The investigation revealed that SINCLAIR, a former Robeson County Sheriff’s Deputy, abused his official position as a law enforcement officer to rob individuals he suspected were drug traffickers. At the hearing, the Court took testimony from State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Mark Francisco. Agent Francisco testified that SINCLAIR, under color of authority, and others, traveled in February 2004, to Virginia and kidnaped two individuals suspected of being drug dealers in possession of between $300,000.00 and $400,000.00. During the commission of the offense one of SINCLAIR’s co-conspirators shot and wounded one of the individuals. Agent Francisco also testified that SINCLAIR, once again under color of authority, and his co-conspirators stopped and seized a drug trafficker and forced him to have delivered $150,000.00 and two kilograms of cocaine.
Mr. Holding stated, “Judge Boyle’s sentence reflects the shocking nature of this crime. Mr. Sinclair, a sworn law enforcement officer, responsible for protecting the citizens of Robeson County from robbers and thieves, crossed the line and became part of the threat he was sworn to prevent. He became one of those robbers; one of those thieves. This sentence removes him from Robeson County for more than 30 years and is another important step in returning trustworthy law enforcement to the people of Robeson County.”
This is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation (OCDETF) investigation entitled Operation Tarnish Badge. The investigation centered around public corruption with the in the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. To date 22 defendants have pleaded guilty to various federal charges ranging from drug conspiracy, conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the government, and conspiracy to commit satellite piracy charges.
The law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Bradsher and Michael G. James are the assigned prosecutors.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.