United States Attorney Sally Yates held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to inform citizens about 10 metro Atlanta officers who were arrested this morning for their alleged involvement in protecting presumed cocaine traffickers.
According to U.S. Attorney Yates, the charges, "arose out of an ATF investigation of an Atlanta area street gang in August 2011." It was in 2011, she said, that "ATF agents learned from an individual associated with the gang that police officers were involved in protecting the gang’s criminal operations, including drug trafficking crimes."
According to this cooperating individual, the officers—while wearing uniforms, driving police vehicles, or otherwise displaying badges—provided security to the gang members during drug deals.
According to Yates, the 10 arrested officers consisted of "two DeKalb County officers, two Forest Park officers, one Atlanta police officer, one Stone Mountain officer, one MARTA officer, and one contracted Federal Protection worker."
The defendants were round up this morning and are making their initial appearances Tuesday before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman.
During the press conference, Yates spoke directly to our local residents and communities and said, "it is troubling to hear that police officers were involved in this. They are supposed to be arresting these people, not helping them."
It was still too early for the attorneys to go into detail about the cases brought against these individuals, but investigators did share that the officers did not seem to be working together as a group, but rather individuals had illegal dealings with a particular gang.
The U.S. Attorney refused to name the gang involved in this case. It seems that the gang contracted these officers for protection while they made drug deals or large drug purchases. According Yates, the largest one-time transaction that one of these officers received for his or her assistance was $7,000, but the amount fluctuated.
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “In recognizing the need for the criminal justice system and those who work within that system to firmly have the public’s trust, the FBI considers such public corruption investigations as being crucial. The FBI will continue to work with its various local, state, and other federal law enforcement agencies in ensuring that the public’s trust in its law enforcement officers is well deserved.”
Two of the most surprising details to come out of the press conference were that in most cases the officers wore their uniforms during the act of these crimes, and in one case an officer actually escorted a drug trafficking suspect onto the expressway following.
The police officers were charged with numerous crimes including receiving payouts, assisting with drug trafficking, and using firearms during the commission of a crime. Five civilians, including Shannon Bass of Atlanta, Elizabeth Coss of Atlanta, Gregory Lee Harvey of Stone Mountain, Alexander B. Hill of Ellenwood, and Jerry B. Mannery, Jr. of Tucker were also taken into custody.
The law enforcement officers arrested today were:
- Atlanta Police Department (APD) Officer Kelvin Allen, 42, of Atlanta;
- DeKalb County Police Department (DCPD) Officers Dennis Duren, 32, of Atlanta and Dorian Williams, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia;
- Forest Park Police Department (FPPD) Sergeants Victor Middlebrook, 44, of Jonesboro, Georgia and Andrew Monroe, 57, of Riverdale, Georgia;
- MARTA Police Department (MARTA) Officer Marquez Holmes, 45, of Jonesboro, Georgia;
- Stone Mountain Police Department (SMPD) Officer Denoris Carter, 42, of Lithonia, Georgia,
- and contract Federal Protective Services Officer Sharon Peters, 43, of Lithonia, Georgia.
- Agents also arrested two former law enforcement officers: former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) jail officers Monyette McLaurin, 37, of Atlanta, and Chase Valentine, 44, of Covington, Georgia
Information on the Atlanta Police Officer
According to the narrative from the U.S. Attorney's Office, "between June and August 2012, Atlanta Police officer Kelvin D. Allen, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine."
The report says that, "Allen and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $10,500 for their services. For two transactions, Allen dressed in his Atlanta Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. Allen patrolled on foot in parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions."
Allen and Coss are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Allen also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The Atlanta Police Department released a statement late Tuesday afternoon in regards to Allen. APD Public Affairs said, "The revelation of an Atlanta Police officer’s alleged involvement in a federal drug trafficking sting is disturbing. The Department has been, and will continue to be, cooperative with federal authorities to ensure that Atlanta Police officers involved in any illegal activity are brought to justice. Officers are held to the highest levels of accountability, and this alleged conduct violates our standards.
"Kelvin Allen has been with the Department for 20 years, and was serving as a patrol officer in Zone 6. He has been removed from service effective immediately."