By The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Three ex-officers of the Jackson Police Department are accused of accepting bribes to protect what they believed were drug transactions, federal authorities said Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney John Dowdy and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said Monyette Q. Jefferson, 27, Terence D. Jenkins, and Anthony R. Payne Jr., both 25, were arrested following an undercover drug operation.
According to Dowdy’s office, an undercover FBI operative met on June 25, 2010, with Jefferson and Payne to discuss their protection of a cocaine shipment en route to Jackson. Later that day, Jefferson helped the agent remove four suitcases — that he believed contained cocaine — from an airplane at Hawkins Field Airport and put them into the agent’s car, authorities said.
Jefferson was paid $6,000 for his protection, Dowdy said.
Also on that day, Jenkins is accused of providing protection for what he believed was a drug transaction of about 20 kilos of cocaine between two undercover officers in the airport’s parking lot. Jenkins was paid $5,000 for protecting that transaction and for escorting the agent from the airport to Interstate 20, authorities allege.
Another undercover FBI officer arrived at the airport later that day. He simulated the purchase of about 20 kilos of cocaine from the first undercover officer in the presence of Payne and Jefferson. Payne was paid $5,000 for his protection and then provided further protection by following the third undercover person from the airport to the Hanging Moss Road area, Dowdy’s office said.
In each instance, the officers were either in uniform or driving their patrol car.
Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance said Payne resigned in 2010, while Jefferson and Jenkins are no longer on the force as of Tuesday. He would not comment further on whether they may have resigned or been fired.
“It is a reprehensible crime for a police officer to betray the badge,” Dowdy said in a news release. “If a police officer chooses to side with criminals they have sworn to protect the public from, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The overwhelming majority of men and women who strap on a badge every day and put their lives on the line are dedicated and honorable.”
Officials said Jenkins and Payne were released after posting $10,000 bond. Jefferson remained in custody.