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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Federal Jury Convicts Former Sheriff’s Deputy on Three Counts, including Solicitation to Tamper with a Witness

Memphis, TN – After eight days of trial before U.S. Senior District Judge Samuel H. Mays, a federal jury convicted Jeremy Drewery of one count of Hobbs Act Extortion; one count of Receipt of a Bribe by a Government Agent; and one count of Solicitation to Tamper with a Witness. United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant announced the guilty verdict today.

Jeremy Drewery, 42, of Arlington, Tennessee, was indicted last September for attempting to extort thousands of dollars from an alleged drug dealer in August of 2016. In July, additional charges were added to the indictment, which alleged that the defendant solicited a person to kill the witness in the extortion case.

United States Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "Official misconduct and corruption by law enforcement officers in positions of trust and authority undermine the foundational integrity of our government institutions. We must root out, expose, and hold accountable those officials who violate the public trust by corrupt acts of extortion, bribery, and witness tampering, and this verdict does just that."

Drewery was assigned to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Division at the time of these events, but has since been terminated from the department. The evidence at trial showed that after executing a search warrant on the home of an alleged drug dealer, Drewery demanded money from the man. In exchange, Drewery would not institute a criminal case on the man. The alleged drug dealer contacted the FBI, which began an investigation. Over the course of three weeks, Drewery met with the alleged drug dealer and received a total of $8,000. Each of the meetings and numerous phone calls between Drewery and the alleged drug dealer were recorded.

"Law enforcement corruption undermines the public trust and can threaten the overall safety of our community," said Michael T. Gavin, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "The FBI holds, as one of its highest priorities, the investigation of corrupt members of law enforcement. This conviction is the result of the hard work and diligence of the honest law enforcement officers and agents of the Tarnished Badge Task Force, who like the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers, put their lives on the line day in and day out to protect, serve, and maintain public trust."

The evidence at trial also showed that, after Drewery’s arrest on the attempted extortion, he paid a confidential informant $2,000 to solicit a person to kill the alleged drug dealer.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday, March 30, 2018, before U.S. Senior District Judge Mays. Drewery faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

This case was investigated by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the FBI, Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reagan M. Taylor and Mark Erskine are prosecuting this case on the government’s behalf.

Updated December 15, 2017