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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 29, 2022

Former DSP Trooper Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Violation

WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Jamal Merrell, 32, of Newark, pled guilty in federal court today after an FBI investigation revealed that Merrell, under the ruse of conducting an active fraud investigation, stole various electronic items from an international reshipping company in New Castle. Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge accepted the plea.

According to court documents, Merrell, a former Delaware State Police trooper, pleaded guilty to Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law and faces a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison when sentenced on January 5, 2023. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Weiss commented on the plea, “The defendant betrayed the public trust for personal gain. His conduct undermines the honorable law enforcement officers who protect and serve our communities every day.  I commend the Delaware State Police Internal Investigations Unit for their cooperation with the FBI during this investigation.”

“Every Trooper within the Delaware State Police takes an oath to faithfully serve and protect the citizens of this great state. We are an organization that recognizes while fulfilling our sacred mission to protect and serve the public, we must also hold our own members accountable for any actions that jeopardize public trust,” said Delaware State Police Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley. The Delaware State Police consistently responds to and investigates all complaints of misconduct. Since the onset of this federal investigation, the Delaware State Police has worked in partnership with federal investigators. We would like to thank the community for their continued trust and patience as this investigation unfolded. We will continue to provide the professional, competent, and compassionate law enforcement services that our communities deserve.”

"Today’s guilty plea represents FBI's commitment to investigating these cases" stated Baltimore FBI Special Agent in Charge, Thomas J. Sobocinski. "Our partnership, shared expertise, intelligence, and investigative practices will help dissuade police misconduct more effectively and reinforce public confidence in the great work done by our law enforcement officers."

The FBI and the Delaware State Police Internal Investigations Unit investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin P. Pierce is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated September 29, 2022