Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Indicted on Corruption, Drug, and Firearm Offenses

ANTHONY C. ATWATER, 32, of Atlanta, Georgia, a deputy with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption, drug, and firearm offenses. ATWATER is scheduled to make his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “In exchange for cash payments, this deputy sheriff allegedly provided protection for drug deals. He chose to protect suspected drug dealers rather than protect the public. This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and prosecute corrupt public officials at all levels of government who abuse their positions to line their own pockets.”

FBI Atlanta Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Mazanec said, “It is paramount that the public maintain the highest level of trust in the law enforcement officers charged with protecting the citizens of Fulton County. These charges serve as a reminder that nobody is above the law, and that the FBI is committed to work with all parts of the law enforcement community to prevent the erosion of public trust that accompany such incidents.”

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson said, “When an officer who has taken the oath to serve and protect violates the law, it tarnishes and damages the reputations of those who are committed to doing the right thing. The Fulton County Sheriff's Office has been aware of this investigation since January and has cooperated fully with the FBI and will continue to do so. This deputy was arrested by the FBI, during roll call this morning, sending a message that criminal behavior of any type will not be tolerated. This does not reflect on the many men and women who put their lives on the line for public safety on a daily basis.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment and evidence presented in court: Between January and March 2010, ATWATER, in exchange for $4,000 in cash payoffs, used his position as a sheriff's deputy to provide armed protection for alleged drug dealers. The indictment alleges that on two separate occasions, January 23, 2010, and March 12, 2010, ATWATER attempted to aid and abet drug deals involving cocaine. In each instance, he knowingly possessed a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

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