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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Former Sheriff of Tallahatchie County Sentenced to Federal Prison for Accepting Bribes

OXFORD – The former Sheriff of Tallahatchie County was sentenced to six years in federal prison on Thursday for agreeing to allow robbery of a drug dealer and drug distribution in Tallahatchie County in exchange for bribes.  William Brewer, 58, appeared before U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills in Oxford for sentencing following his guilty plea for extorting a bribe, and Mills imposed the 72-month sentence.  In addition, Brewer was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison and to forfeit $42,500.  Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jackson Division and William C. Lamar, US Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, made the announcement following the sentence.

Evidence showed that a source cooperating with the FBI who was known by Brewer to sell drugs in Tallahatchie County, informed Brewer of plans to rob another drug dealer of drugs and money.  Brewer did nothing to oppose the actions of the individual and the individual delivered $6,500 cash to Brewer at his residence in Tallahatchie County on June 21, 2018, representing that the cash was money obtained from robbing the drug dealer.  On two subsequent occasions, the individual delivered additional payments to Brewer’s residence representing that they were proceeds from the sale of the stolen drugs.  The evidence established that Brewer accepted a total of $10,000 in bribes over a two-month period.

In August of 2018, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Brewer with multiple counts of extortion by bribe, and a single count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute narcotics.  On October 30, 2018, Brewer pled guilty to count three of the indictment in exchange of dismissal of the remaining counts and faced not more than 20 years in prison. 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze emphasized the importance of investigating and holding accountable corrupt law enforcement officials.  "When corrupt law enforcement officers, especially an elected sheriff, participate in the crimes they are sworn to protect against, it degrades the public trust of law enforcement everywhere," said SAC Freeze.  "Public corruption continues to be the FBI's top criminal priority, because it tears at the fabric of our democracy."

Following the sentence, U.S. Attorney William Lamar noted that Brewer’s actions were not only illegal, but a betrayal of the citizens he was sworn to serve.  “William Brewer violated his oath, dishonoring himself, his badge, and every honest lawman who wears a badge.  The citizens of our state and Tallahatchie County deserved better and we hope that today’s sentence will emphasize the commitment of this office to hold accountable elected officials who would so blatantly betray the public’s trust,” remarked Lamar.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Oxford Resident Agency and prosecuted by AUSA Robert Mims.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated April 18, 2019