Former Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputy Darrell Mathis was sentenced to five years in federal prison stemming for possessing a firearm during a drug transaction, stemming from his Sept. 19 arrest by the FBI for selling drugs.
Mathis, 41, who lived in Lithonia and worked for the NCSO for nearly five years, pleaded guilty to the charge in December, after being arrested for selling marijuana in an undercover sting.
“Mathis abandoned his oath as a deputy sheriff, and chose the life of a drug dealer,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “His decision to violate the law also violated the trust the public places in law enforcement. Mathis will have the next five years in prison to consider his conduct.”
Mathis was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release for his role in multiple drug transactions involving an FBI confidential source and an undercover agent.
Mathis initially invited the FBI source to his Lithonia apartment for a social visit in April, and the source saw several large bags of marijuana, according to a sworn statement by an FBI agent filed in federal court in Atlanta last year.
During the initial drug sale on April 25, Mathis exited his patrol car wearing his NCSO uniform and gun and allegedly sold the source $100 in marijuana, according to the FBI statement; he allegedly sold marijuana to the source and an undercover agent on multiple occasions.
Mathis was arrested Sept. 19 when he allegedly had one pound of marijuana on him and met with the undercover agent.
“This defendant used his position as a police officer to openly violate the very laws that he was sworn to uphold,” Yates said in an FBI press release at the time of Mathis’ arrest. “Selling marijuana out of his police car while wearing a badge and uniform is outrageous. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law.”
The charge of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense carries a maximum term of life in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Mathis was also charged with distributing marijuana but that was not part of his plea and he was not sentenced relating to that charge, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
“Today’s sentencing of former deputy Mathis should serve notice that, while noting that the vast majority of those who serve within the criminal justice system are faithful to their oaths, the FBI will make those individuals who do violate their sworn oaths as law enforcement officers a priority for investigation and prosecution,” said J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge in the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.