BIRMINGHAM - Federal authorities today arrested a Huntsville man on charges he conspired with Huntsville Police Officer Lewis Hall in efforts to fix cocaine trafficking charges against an individual arrested by another Huntsville officer, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton and Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris.
A federal grand jury last week indicted CEDRIC DUANE RYANS, 42, on charges of conspiracy, bribery and obstruction of justice. The FBI arrested Ryans this morning.
The indictment charges that Ryans conspired with Hall to pay a second officer $5,000 if that officer would claim a July 29 vehicle search he conducted, which resulted in drug-trafficking charges against an "Individual A," was unlawful, thereby making the criminal case against that individual go away. The Huntsville officer who conducted the vehicle search and, subsequently, assisted in the investigation of Hall and Ryans, is identified only as "Cooperating Officer."
Hall pleaded guilty to the conspiracy Feb. 24 and is scheduled for sentencing July 14. According to Ryans' indictment, Ryans provided Hall money to bribe the Cooperating Officer.
On July 31, Ryans and Hall discussed offering the Cooperating Officer a bribe to tell other law enforcement officers that his search of Individual A's vehicle, which uncovered about three ounces of cocaine, was unlawful, according to Ryans' indictment. Hall offered the $5,000 bribe to Cooperating Officer that same day. On Aug. 12, Ryans gave Hall cash to deliver to Cooperating Officer, and Hall delivered $1,000 to the officer, according to Ryans' indictment. Ryans gave Hall more cash on Aug. 24 to pay the officer, the indictment says.
On Sept. 8, Ryans discussed the "fixed case" with Individual A, and Hall had two other conversations in November with Cooperating Officer about what the officer was supposed to say when asked about the search of Individual A's vehicle, the indictment says.
The bribery count charges Ryans with corruptly agreeing to give $5,000 to the Cooperating Officer, an agent of the City of Huntsville and its police department, which received more than $10,000 in federal benefits within one year, to influence the officer in how he reported the July 29 vehicle search.
The obstruction of justice count charges Ryans with offering the bribe with the intent to delay or prevent the reporting of a felony or possible felony offense and the violation of conditions of supervised release by Individual A. According to Hall's plea agreement with the government, Individual A was on supervised release following a 15-year prison sentence for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance when the Cooperating Officer pulled him over on a traffic stop July 29.
The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for the bribery count is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum for the obstruction count is 20 years in prison and a $250,000.
The FBI investigated the case in conjunction with the Huntsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney George A. Martin Jr. is prosecuting the case.