Two DeKalb County Police officers, a Stone Mountain Police officer and two former county jail officers were among 12 people arrested Feb. 12 in a drug trafficking sting by the FBI.
Dennis Duren, 32, and Dorian Williams, 25, of the DeKalb County Police Department, have been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
According to an FBI press release, Duren and Williams were protecting drug dealers during the trafficking sting.
Interim DeKalb Police Chief Lisa Gassner said what both officers are charged with is “incomprehensible,” because they are sworn to protect the community from such offenders.
“These officers do not reflect the character of the hundreds of DeKalb County Police officers that wear the badge. Their alleged actions only assist in eroding the public’s trust in those that honorably serve and that is truly disheartening,” Gassner said.
Duren has been employed by the DeKalb County Police Department since 2002 and is assigned to the Tucker precinct along with Williams, who was hired in 2007.
Stone Mountain Police officer Denoris Carter, 42, was arrested and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation. Stone Mountain Police Chief Chancey Troutman reassured residents that he and his staff are committed to keeping them safe.
“If the allegations are true, Officer Denoris Carter had a serious lapse in judgment to get involved in criminal activity and betray the public trust,” Troutman said.
According to a news release from the FBI, Duren, Williams and Carter, along with seven Atlanta Police officers, two former DeKalb County Sheriff officers, a Federal Protective Services officer and five civilians have been charged with accepting thousands of dollars in cash to provide protection during drug deals.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said the officers who were charged sold their badges to those they should have been arresting.
“They not only betrayed the citizens they were sworn to protect, they also betrayed the thousands of honest, hard-working law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe,” Yates said.
Among the civilians who were arrested were Gregory Lee Harvey, 26, of Stone Mountain, and Jerry Mannery Jr., 38, of Tucker.
Yates said the undercover operation arose out of an investigation into an Atlanta-area street gang in 2011. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) agents allegedly learned from an informant of police participation in drug deals.
Acting at the direction of the FBI and ATF, Yates said, the informant set up police protection for upcoming drug deals he was to participate in, involving the sale of several kilograms of cocaine.
According to a press release, the officers arrested and charged Feb. 12 participated in various stings set up by law enforcement officials. Yates said the officers, usually in uniform and displaying a weapon, patrolled the parking lots where the deals took place and monitored the transactions, which were recorded.
Former DeKalb County Sheriff jail officers Monyette McLaurin and Chase Valentine allegedly portrayed themselves as deputies and provided protection for what they believed were several drug transactions in 2013.
McLaurin is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Valentine is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Similarly, Duren, Williams and Carter are charged with having provided protection for what they thought were several separate drug deals.
Duren allegedly accepted $8,800 in cash for his services and allegedly offered to drive his patrol vehicle to future transactions for an additional $800, which he later received. He is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Duren also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Williams, along with two civilians, accepted $18,000 for their services, according to federal investigators. He has been charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.
According to a release from the FBI, Williams also suggested that future drug transactions should take place in the parking lot of a local high school during the afternoon, so that the “exchange of backpacks containing drugs and money would not look suspicious.”
Carter, working with a civilian, allegedly provided protection for what he believed to be five separate drug deals, which took place between April and Sept. 2012. Both allegedly accepted payments totaling $23,500 and are charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.