June 28, 2011
Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell
Phone Number: (404) 893-7000
Former Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Officer Charged With Drug Trafficking Conspiracy And Extortion
Defendant Allegedly Extorted Drugs and Other Property from Area Drug Dealers While He Served as Police Officer
ATLANTA, GA. - FLOYD B. SAWYER, 44, a former Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan (SCMPD) Officer, has been charged with drug trafficking conspiracy, extortion, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, and lying to federal agents. SAWYER was arrested yesterday by federal authorities on a criminal complaint. SAWYER’s initial appearance in federal court was held today in federal court in Savannah, Georgia, before United States Magistrate Judge G. R. Smith.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “This former police officer is accused of using his badge to commit numerous crimes. Law enforcement officers who violate the public’s trust by giving up their oaths to become criminals in police clothing will be exposed and aggressively prosecuted. Those who commit these felonious failures can expect to join the flocks of other criminals in our nation’s federal prisons. Combating public corruption will continue to be a top priority for this Office.”
John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in (SAC) of the DEA Atlanta Field (AFD) commented, “The public holds law enforcement officers to a higher standard of trust. This officer allegedly abused his position and broke the bond of trust with the citizens of Savannah. Fortunately, an overwhelming number of officers protect and serve the public with honor and distinction. This investigation was a success because of the joint efforts between DEA and its federal counterparts."
Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The FBI considers public corruption to be its highest criminal investigative priority. Those that choose to abdicate their oaths of office can do great harm. The greatest harm, however, is that to the public trust, which makes the work of the rest of the criminal justice community even more difficult. The public should be reminded that the vast majority of law enforcement officials live by their oaths and will not tolerate such criminal conduct as is alleged in this matter. The FBI has recently dedicated a new Public Corruption Hotline, tel. 1-877-428-5324, wherein the public is urged to call with any information concerning such matters.”
According to the criminal complaint unsealed today in federal court:
In 2010, federal law enforcement received information that an SCMPD officer providing off-duty security at a local Savannah night club was extorting narcotics from area drug dealers within the club and selling the drugs for his own benefit. In the early morning hours of May 22, 2010, a law enforcement informant posing as a drug dealer entered the Savannah night club with a cell phone, a bottle of placebo Oxycontin pills and other items. Soon after entering the club, the informant was forcibly taken by SAWYER and another off-duty SCMPD officer to a secluded area of the club. Both SAWYER and the other officer were wearing SCMPD uniforms and were carrying SCMPD-issued firearms. Through the wrongful use of force, intimidation and under the color of official right, SAWYER and the other officer then took the placebo drugs and cell phone from the informant. The informant was then escorted from the club and released.
Additional investigation uncovered that later that same day, the cell phone taken from the informant became associated with a number subscribed to by SAWYER. Later, SAWYER lied to federal agents when questioned about his alleged misconduct.
The criminal complaint charges SAWYER with violating: Title 21, U.S.C. § 846, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 5 years; Title 18, U.S.C. § 1951, Hobbs Act Extortion, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years; Title 18, U.S.C. § 924(c), possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, which requires a 5-year consecutive prison sentence to any other sentence imposed; and, Title 18, U.S.C. § 1001, knowingly and willfully making a material false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation to a federal agent, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.
Mr. Tarver emphasized that the charges contained in the criminal complaint are accusations and not evidence of guilt. The burden in any criminal case is on the Government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The charges against SAWYER arise out of a joint investigation by the FBI and DEA. First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham is prosecuting the case.DEA AFD’s Acting SAC John S. Comer encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.