Georgia Man Arrested in Federal Drug Trafficking Ring
A former jail officer of the DeKalb County Sherriff’s Office has been arrested and charged with accepting money in exchange for protection during drug deals in a federal undercover operation. Chase Valentine, 44, represented himself to undercover agents as a DeKalb County Deputy, although his position as a jailer ended in 2010.
Valentine provided security on Jan. 17 for an undercover drug transaction, during which he was armed and wore a DeKalb Sheriff’s Office uniform. Valentine received $6,000 in cash for escorting a seller to pick up sham cocaine, counting the number of kilograms delivered, and standing guard outside the purchaser’s car during the actual transaction. Valentine is facing charges of attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The undercover operation arose out of an ATF investigation of an Atlanta area street gang in August 2011. 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.
Valentine, along with seven Metro Atlanta police officers, one other former DeKalb County jail officer, a contract officer with Federal Protective Services and five others has been charged. They made their initial appearance last week before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman.
The law enforcement officers arrested 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.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced the case during a press conference last week at the Richard Russell Federal Building in Atlanta, joined by representatives from the FBI, ATF, FPS, and local law enforcement agencies.
Yates said, “This is a troubling day for law enforcement in our city. The law enforcement officers charged today sold their badges by taking payoffs from drug dealers that they should have been arresting. They not only betrayed the citizens they were sworn to protect, they also betrayed the thousands of honest, hard-working law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. We will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to pursue this corruption wherever it lies.”
“Corrupt public officials undermine the fabric of our nation’s security, our overall safety, the public trust, and confidence in those chosen to protect and serve,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow. “The corruption and abuse of power exemplified in this case can tarnish virtually every aspect of society.”