Fourteen Public Officials Face Conspiracy Charges

Nine additional defendants recently entered guilty pleas pursuant to a wide-ranging drug dealing conspiracy in Northampton County.

Federal authorities launched an investigation in April 2013 amidst allegations of corruption in the county sheriff’s office. FBI agents posed as I-95 Corridor drug dealers who “recruited” deputies because of their law enforcement ties. Justice Department officials said that the defendants transported what they believed to be narcotics in exchange for bribes.

The fourteen individuals from the Northampton County Sherriff’s Office and Virginia Department of Corrections all pleaded guilty to a wide range of charges, including drug conspiracy.

Undercover Investigations

Authorities are more and more aggressive in this area, because these investigations normally result in a large number of high-profile arrests, create a substantial amount of positive publicity for the department, and have a chilling effect on other criminal activity in the area.

Small street dealers are the most frequent drug investigation targets. Generally, these individuals are more than willing to take on new customers, which is often not the case with medium and large dealers.

These operations usually begin after the department receives a number of complaints about drug activity in an area, because the resources that law enforcement invests in these programs dictate that there must be a large payout, in terms of arrests, at the end.

About the only limit placed on undercover officers is that they cannot do anything illegal during the investigation. So, for example, officers cannot smoke marijuana in the presence of others, to endear themselves to other conspirators.


In movies and television, the bad guy nearly always asks the undercover officer, “Are you a cop?” The implication is that a denial sets the stage for an entrapment defense at trial. But such a defense requires much more than the officer’s dishonesty. In fact, only a small percentage of trials involve an entrapment defense, because it is difficult to prove.

The two elements of entrapment in North Carolina are:

  • Inducement: Officers must employ trickery or deceit to induce the defendant to commit the crime, which is more than pressuring or cajoling or creating an opportunity.
  • No Predisposition: The defendant must have had no inclination whatsoever to engage in the activity before officers set the scene.

The same principle applies in undercover child pornography investigations. Officers often pose as teenage girls, approach targets online, and even send photographs. None of these things constitute entrapment, because the fact that the defendant responded to the “girl” proves that officers did not induce him and that he was predisposed to the crime.

But dishonesty is still highly relevant, because the only substantial evidence against the defendant is the officer’s word. And, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” In other words, if the officers were dishonest in one area, it stands to reason that they may be lying about other things as well, and a jury may well draw that same conclusion.

Contact Aggressive Defense Attorneys

Your best option in a drug case is assertive representation from experienced criminal defense attorneys in Charlotte. Contact Remington & Dixon, PLLC today. We routinely represent clients throughout Mecklenburg County and nearby jurisdictions.


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While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

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We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

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This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



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