The FBI just announced that they have arrested four men, including three former or current law-enforcement officials. One of them, Kent Daniels served as one of two bodyguards that Hinds County District Attorney has said that then-Mayor Frank Melton assigned to him soon after he became DA—a controversial move the JFP criticized at the time. Daniels also worked on high-profile cases as a Jackson police officer, including the initial Heather Spencer assault case, in which he downgraded George Bell's charge the first time he beat her, before killing her.
The following is a verbatim release from the FBI:
JACKSON, MS: FBI agents have arrested four (4) individuals, three of whom are former or current law enforcement officers, on charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and theft of government property.
George Hilliard, age 43, Kingsbridge Road, Madison, MS, was taken into custody at the FBI office in Jackson, MS;
Zack Robinson, age 45, a deputy with the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested at his residence in Jackson, MS;
Kent Daniels, age 44, of Byram, MS, a former Jackson Police Officer and investigator for the Hinds County District Attorney, was arrested in Jackson; and
Watson Lee Jackson, Jr., age 42, a former deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s office, was arrested at his residence in Ridgeland, MS.
“These four subjects were arrested pursuant to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, on October 2, 2012,” stated Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Mississippi.
The indictment alleges that, from September 6 through November 27, 2011, the defendants conspired to steal government property, carrying out their criminal conduct, as follows:
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants would discuss how to steal cash from drug dealers traveling into Mississippi from other states.
On September 30, 2011, Robinson, Daniels and Jackson drove to a hotel room in Jackson, Mississippi, to steal personal property from individuals they believed to be drug dealers traveling to Mississippi from other states. Robinson entered the hotel room and took a bag containing approximately $23,000. Also on September 30, 2011, Hilliard, Robinson, Daniels and Jackson did steal and knowingly convert to their own use the money in the bag and seven (7) iPads belonging to the United States.
The defendants made their initial appearance today before United States Magistrate Keith Ball. Each subject was released on a $10,000 bond and trial was set for December 3, 2012. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of fifteen (15) years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The public is reminded that indictments and arrests are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial, at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Rushing.