Originally published on November 4, 2014, at NationofChange.org
Operating with full oversight of the Arkansas State Police evidence room, Lieutenant Sedrick Reed repeatedly stole large amounts of confiscated heroin and cocaine then sold the drugs to a known felon. As the FBI launched an investigation, agents caught video surveillance of Lieutenant Reed stealing narcotics and delivering them to a drug dealer’s home. After pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge, Reed has been sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison and asset forfeiture.
As the Arkansas State Police began to notice heroin and cocaine disappearing from their evidence vault, law enforcement officials notified the FBI and assisted in the investigation of Lieutenant Reed. After acquiring a confidential informant, the FBI arranged a sting to catch Reed in the act. On July 12, 2013, the FBI informant called Lamont Johnson and requested to purchase 9 ounces of cocaine.
Unaware the FBI had a court-authorized Title III wiretap on his phone, Johnson agreed to the deal then called Reed. After Johnson ordered 9 ounces of cocaine from Reed, video surveillance shows Reed entering the evidence room and removing a box of narcotics. Reed took the box into an adjoining room with scales and cut the evidence seal before returning the cocaine. An inspection of the evidence box later revealed over 26 ounces of cocaine had been stolen.
Video surveillance of Johnson’s home shows Reed delivering a package less than an hour before the drug deal. Under visual and electronic surveillance, the FBI informant bought 9 ounces of cocaine from Johnson. The FBI recovered the purchased cocaine from their informant and tested it against the tampered box of cocaine from the evidence locker.
Six days later, Reed and Johnson were arrested for possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine. Law enforcement seized $30,073 from Reed’s home and $57,595 at Johnson’s residence. Reed was immediately terminated following his arrest.
“It’s a very sad day when a law enforcement officer violates the public trust,” stated Christopher Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. “Thankfully, because of the integrity and leadership at the Arkansas State Police, information regarding Lt. Reed’s illegal actions was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to ferret out the dishonesty by one of their own.”
On August 7, 2013, a grand jury indicted Reed and Johnson with federal narcotics and firearms charges. Facing charges of drug conspiracy, cocaine distribution, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, Reed eventually pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances on July 30. According to the plea bargain, the government has agreed to drop the remaining charges against Reed.
At his plea hearing, Reed admitted to participating in a conspiracy to distribute between five and fifteen kilograms (11 and 33lbs) of cocaine between 2006 and 2013. He confessed to stealing drugs from a traffic stop and from the evidence room. Reed also admitted to profiting in excess of $200,000 from the resale of these stolen narcotics. Along with the 11-year prison sentence, Reed agreed to the forfeiture of bank accounts, real estate property, firearms, vehicles, and over $30,000 in cash constituting proceeds of his illegal conduct.
“Citizens of the Eastern District of Arkansas deserve to know that their law enforcement members are trustworthy law abiding citizens. And when they are not, they will be held accountable for their illegal actions,” declared U.S. Attorney Thyer. “This sentence demonstrates that violating the public trust is taken seriously.”
Johnson’s trial is scheduled for February 3, 2015. He has been charged with drug conspiracy, cocaine distribution, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a defaced firearm, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.