Former Winston County Deputy Pleads Guilty To Extorting Manufacture Of Methamphetamine
BIRMINGHAM -- A former Winston County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty today in federal court to using his police authority to extort a woman to cook methamphetamine, and to causing her to manufacture and distribute the drug at the home where she lived with a minor child, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
GRADY KEITH CONCORD, 42, of Lynn, entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Abdul K Kallon to one count of extortion under color of official right, one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine on premises where children are present or reside. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the charges against Concord in November.
"Sheriff's deputies are supposed to protect people from harm. Instead, this defendant broke the law and coerced a woman into violating the law and manufacturing methamphetamine for him in a way that put lives, including a child's, in danger," Vance said. "Most law enforcement officers serve honorably, but we will prosecute those who break the law."
"We entrust law enforcement officers with certain powers and authority, which they are expected to wield with the utmost integrity," Schwein said. "Mr. Concord's actions breached the public trust and dishonored the badge that he once carried. This case shows that abuse of that power and authority will not be tolerated."
According to his plea, Concord was a Winston County Sheriff's deputy in July 2013 when he approached a woman living in the town of Nauvoo and pressured her to manufacture methamphetamine for him. Concord used the illegal drug and arranged to supply the woman with pseudoephedrine, a necessary ingredient of methamphetamine, in exchange for a portion of the finished product.
Concord disputes the woman's claim that he threatened her with an arrest warrant unless she agreed to the arrangement, but he concedes that because he was a sheriff's deputy, she may have felt that she "had no choice but to accept his offer," he acknowledged in his plea agreement with the government.
On several occasions between July 2013 through June 2014, Concord delivered pseudoephedrine to the woman's home, where she manufactured the methamphetamine, and where he picked up the illegal drug, he acknowledged during his guilty plea today. Concord obtained decongestant pills containing pseudoephedrine from the sheriff's office evidence room, and he and his wife both bought the pills, according to his plea.
Concord acknowledged that he knew the woman had two sons who lived with her, and that one of them was a minor.
He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the extortion count and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the count of manufacturing methamphetamine. Any sentence imposed for the manufacture of methamphetamine where minors reside or are present must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. The maximum penalty for that count is 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
As part of Concord's plea agreement, he must surrender all law enforcement certifications and not seek future employment in law enforcement or custodial oversight, including as a correctional or probation officer or bail bondsman.
The FBI, State Bureau of Investigation, agents of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force assigned to the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, the Winston/Marion County District Attorney's Office, with the cooperation of the Winston County Sheriff's Office and the Lynn Police Department, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamarra Matthews Johnson is prosecuting the case.