A former Newton County Sheriff's deputy was sentenced in federal court Thursday after being caught in an undercover FBI sting selling marijuana in uniform and from his patrol car.
Darrell Mathis, 41, of Lithonia, was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release for possessing a firearm during a drug transaction. Mathis was with the NCSO for five years.
"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."
According to information presented in court by Assistant US Attorney Jamie Mickelson, the FBI heard in April 2013 that Darrell Mathis, a deputy sheriff with the Newton County Sheriff's Office, was distributing marijuana.
From May through September 2013, Mathis sold various quantities of marijuana to a confidential source who was working with the FBI, as well as to an undercover FBI agent. On at least two occasions, Mathis sold marijuana from his marked patrol vehicle while wearing his Newton County Sheriff's Office uniform.
On August 8, 2013, Mathis sold one pound or about $100 of marijuana to an undercover FBI agent. Following that sale, Mathis and the undercover FBI agent went to meet with another undercover FBI agent to discuss the sale of additional quantities of marijuana. Mathis brought his NCSO badge and his firearm to the meeting. Mathis told the undercover agent that he was bringing his firearm to the meeting "just in case." During the meeting, Mathis told the second undercover FBI agent, whom Mathis believed to be a marijuana and cocaine trafficker, that he was a police officer, pulled out his badge, and stated, "Don't worry, I'm on your side."
Mathis was arrested on September 19, 2013, when he met with the undercover FBI agent while in possession of one pound of marijuana.
Mathis entered a guilty plea on December 6, 2013.
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.
J. Britt Johnson, FBI Atlanta Field Office Special Agent in Charge, said, "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."