U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Georgia
Southern District of Georgia
For Immediate Release
July 17, 2014
Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney
Contact: James D. Durham, First Assistant United States Attorney
Former Pierce County Deputy Sheriff Sentenced to 93 Months in Prison For Providing Protection to Drug Traffickers
WAYCROSS, GA – Randy Strickland, 55, a former Pierce County, Georgia Deputy Sheriff, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Court Judge William T. Moore, Jr. to 93 months in federal prison for providing protection for drug traffickers.
According to evidence presented during Strickland’s guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Strickland agreed to act as “security” for individuals he believed were dealing meth, by acting as the lookout. Strickland’s drug activities occurred while he was in uniform and armed, and while he was driving his police vehicle. After receiving information about Strickland’s apparent criminal activities, Pierce County Sheriff Ramsey Bennett immediately requested federal law enforcement assistance. As a result, Strickland’s last “protection detail” was for a confidential informant and under the watchful eyes of several federal agents. On that occasion, Strickland agreed to act as the lookout for who he believed to a drug dealer selling ounces of methamphetamine. Shortly after receiving his charged fee of $100, which at Strickland’s direction was placed in a potato chip bag on the side of a road, Strickland was arrested by federal authorities.
United States Attorney Edward Tarver stated, “Instead of protecting citizens, Strickland chose to serve drug dealers. His actions tarnished the badge and the community’s trust. While the public should be reminded that the vast majority of law enforcement officers live by their oaths, the public should also know that the U. S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute criminals dressed in police clothing.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge Christopher Shaefer said, “The criminal conduct of former Pierce County Deputy Sheriff Randy Strickland is unconscionable and unthinkable for those serving faithfully within the criminal justice community. Today’s sentencing of Strickland will serve as notice to others that this conduct will not be tolerated and ATF will use all resources to reduce violent crime.”
“Mr. Strickland compromised his integrity and the oath he took to uphold Georgia laws and protect members of society, not to mention putting other law enforcement officers in danger, through his corrupt scheme to provide security for drug traffickers,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, acting special agent in charge of U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta. “Thanks to the hard work of HSI special agents and our partners at the ATF, FBI, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and the U. S. Attorney's Office, Strickland is being held accountable for this betrayal of the public’s trust.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “This case, while centering on a corrupt law enforcement officer, illustrates how the law enforcement community responds swiftly to such breaches of the public trust. The FBI will continue to work with those law enforcement partners in ensuring that the public’s trust in the criminal justice system is well founded and that those officers violating their oaths of office are identified and held accountable.”
Pierce County Sheriff Ramsey Bennett commented, “I’m pleased that justice was served and Mr. Strickland will pay his debt to society for the crimes he committed and his breach of trust to the people he swore to serve.”
This case was investigated by ATF, HSI, FBI and local law enforcement. Assistant United States Attorneys Greg Gilluly and Tania Groover prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.