Former North Carolina Law Enforcement Officer Found Guilty for Role in Providing Armed Support to Large-Scale Drug Trafficking Organization
WASHINGTON – A jury in the Eastern District of North Carolina found a former North Carolina police officer guilty of drug, firearm and bribery charges stemming from his participation in trafficking narcotics and narcotics proceeds for a large-scale drug trafficking organization.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John Stuart Bruce of the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.
Antonio Tillmon, 33, a former police officer with the Windsor City Police Department, was found guilty of multiple counts of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, attempting to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiring to use and carry firearms in relation to drug trafficking offenses, using and carrying firearms in relation to drug trafficking offenses and federal programs bribery. Senior U.S. District Judge Malcom J. Howard of the Eastern District of North Carolina scheduled sentencing for Aug. 8, 2017.
The charges stemmed from a large scale undercover investigation into allegations of systemic law enforcement corruption in Northampton County, North Carolina. The evidence at trial established that Tillmon accepted $6,500 from undercover FBI agents posing as drug traffickers in return for transporting a total of 30 kilograms of heroin from North Carolina to Maryland over three separate occasions between August 2014 and April 2015. On each occasion, Tillmon carried his law enforcement badge and a firearm to secure the illicit narcotics. Tillmon was prepared to use his badge and fake documentation to evade drug interdiction in the event the transport vehicle was stopped. The evidence also showed that Tillmon agreed to participate in a fourth drug transport, to which he brought five firearms, including an assault rifle accompanied by three magazines of ammunition.
Fourteen other defendants, 13 of whom were law enforcement or correctional officers, were charged in the drug trafficking and firearm conspiracies – the law enforcement and correctional officers were also charged with federal programs bribery. Those defendants all pleaded guilty to various offenses and are scheduled to be sentenced later this year. Tillmon is the only charged defendant who proceeded to trial.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Lauren Bell and Molly Gaston of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Toby Lathan of the Eastern District of North Carolina. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Charlotte Division, Raleigh Resident Agency.