A Covington man has been arrested and charged with accepting money in exchange for protection during drug deals in a federal undercover operation.
Chase Valentine, 44, was a jail officer with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. According to a press release from the FBI, Valentine, along with others, represented himself as a DeKalb County Deputy, even though his position as jailer ended in 2010.
“…Valentine provided security for one undercover drug transaction on Jan. 17, during which he wore a DeKalb Sheriff’s Office uniform and a pistol in a holster on his belt. During the transaction, Valentine escorted the seller to pick up the sham cocaine, counted the number of kilograms delivered, and stood outside the purchaser’s car during the actual transaction. For these services, Valentine received $6,000 in cash,” according to the press release. He 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.
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 Tuesday before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced the case during a press conference Tuesday at the Richard Russell Federal Building, joined by FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Giuliano and ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow. Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner, DeKalb Interim Police Chief Lisa Gassner, Forest Park Police Department Chief Dwayne Hobbs, MARTA Police Department Chief Wanda Dunham, DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown, Stone Mountain Police Department Chief Chauncy Troutman, and Federal Protective Service District Commander Jim Longanecker also attended the press conference.
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.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “In recognizing the need for the criminal justice system and those who work within that system to firmly have the public’s trust, the FBI considers such public corruption investigations as being crucial. The FBI will continue to work with its various local, state, and other federal law enforcement agencies in ensuring that the public’s trust in its law enforcement officers is well deserved.”
“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.”
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.
Others arrested today were: Shannon Bass, 38, of Atlanta; Elizabeth Coss, 35, of Atlanta; Gregory Lee Harvey, 26, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Alexander B. Hill, 22, of Ellenwood, Georgia; and Jerry B. Mannery, Jr., 38, of Tucker, Georgia.
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.