Former Wilson County Sheriff's Detective Sentenced on Obstruction of Justice Charges
Former FBI Task Force Officer Receives More Than 18-Year Sentence
John Patrick Edwards, 39, of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, a former detective with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, was sentenced on April 27, 2012, by United States District Court Judge William Haynes to 220 months in prison for corruptly obstructing justice, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee and Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent-In Charge of the FBI-Memphis Division.
Edwards pleaded guilty in February 2012 for his attempt to sell information about a federal investigation of a drug trafficking organization being conducted by the FBI and the DEA.
“Fortunately, the outstanding work of FBI agents pre-empted Edwards from carrying out his plan to contact the targets of the investigation which could have certainly lead to the deaths of several people, including federal agents,” said U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin. “The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office simply will not stand for such egregious betrayal of the badge, nor will we allow such conduct to overshadow the honorable service performed by the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement community.”
“One of the worst crimes that a law enforcement officer can commit is the betrayal of the trust placed in him by the people to uphold the law, and when that betrayal also puts his fellow law enforcement officers lives at risk, the impact is felt throughout the law enforcement community as well as the community at large,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “The FBI holds as one of its highest priorities, the investigation of corrupt members of law enforcement, and this sentencing represents the hard work and diligence of honest law enforcement officers and agents, who put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect and serve, to ensure that justice was served and restore the public trust.”
Following a three-hour sentencing hearing, at approximately 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Judge Haynes imposed a sentence of 18 years, 4 months in prison. In sentencing Edwards, Judge Haynes described this case as, “highly unusual,” and cited three concerns as a basis for the sentence: 1) the defendant sought to compromise an investigation that was highly confidential because it involved federal wiretaps which had been placed under seal; 2) the investigation the defendant obstructed was a major drug investigation that involved Mexican sources bringing over 200 kilos of cocaine into the state of Tennessee; and 3) personal safety issues because the defendant had sought to provide the names of a confidential informant and the names of an FBI and DEA agent to the targets of the investigation, which included members of a Mexican drug cartel.
At the sentencing hearing and earlier at the plea hearing, the Court heard the details of Edwards’ crime. Edwards had worked on a federal investigation conducted by the FBI and DEA into a cocaine and marijuana conspiracy during 2010 and 2011. Edwards was therefore privy to details of the investigation, including the name of an informant and the placement of wiretaps on the phones of several targets of the investigation. In early April 2011, Edwards attempted to sell information about the investigation to the targets of the investigation. That information included the use of wiretaps, the name of the informant, and the names of the two lead agents on the investigation. Edwards sought to sell the information for $100,000 and a Range Rover. The FBI was able to investigate and arrest Edwards before he was able to sell the information.This case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brent A. Hannafan and Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur.
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