Four former Shelby County Corrections Deputies pled guilty on Thursday to attempting to smuggle and distribute OxyContin inside a correctional facility. An undercover investigation was initiated after inmates informed law enforcement officers of the deputies’ illicit activities. Posing as inmates and drug dealers, undercover agents from the Tarnished Badge Task Force conducted three drug deals with each deputy before arresting the corrupt cops.
After receiving tips from inmates at Shelby County Jail, which contains nearly 3,000 prisoners in Memphis, Tennessee, law enforcement agents with the Tarnished Badge Task Force began investigating allegations of corrections deputies smuggling drugs into the jail. Comprised of the FBI, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, and Memphis Police Department, the Tarnished Badge Task Force sent undercover agents into the jail posing as inmates. Cooperating prisoners introduced the undercover agents to the corrupt guards who agreed to smuggle OxyContin pills into the jail after accepting bribes from the undercover agents.
Between May and December 2014, deputies Brian Grammer, Marcus Green, Anthony Thomas, and Torriano Vaughn met with undercover agents posing as associates of the inmates. Meeting at various locations throughout Memphis, the undercover agents secretly gave the deputies placebo pills that looked like OxyContin, a schedule II controlled substance. The undercover agents conducted three transactions with each deputy.
After each transaction, the deputies smuggled the presumed OxyContin pills into the jail and provided them to cooperating inmates. Law enforcement agents eventually recovered all of the placebo pills before arresting the four deputies. In March, a federal grand jury indicted Grammer, Green, Thomas, and Vaughn for attempting to smuggle narcotics into the Shelby County Jail to provide to inmates.
“As the indictments allege, these defendants participated in a scheme to accept bribes from inmates in exchange for violating the very laws they swore to uphold,” stated U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton III. “These individuals falsely believed that they were above the law, and now they are facing prison time behind the bars they once were responsible for guarding.”
On Thursday, all four defendants pled guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. They each face up to 20 years imprisonment when convicted, and each defendant also faces up to a $1 million fine.
According to court records, Thomas will be sentenced on October 9. Green will face sentencing on October 23. Grammer will be sentenced on November 3, and Vaughn’s sentencing will take place on November 6.