By Monica Land
JACKSON – Three former Jackson police officers have been arrested for allegedly taking money to protect what they believed to be drug transactions, but was instead a sting operation organized by the FBI. Twenty-seven-year-old Monyette Quintel Jefferson, Terence Dale Jenkins, 25, and Anthony Ricardo Payne, Jr., 25, were all charged with accepting bribes and arrested, federal officials confirmed on Feb. 21.
U.S. Attorney John Dowdy said on June 25, 2010, an undercover FBI agent, posing as a drug dealer, met with Officers Jefferson and Payne at the Metro Center Mall to discuss their protection of a shipment of cocaine that was coming into Jackson.
Later that day, Jefferson arrived at Hawkins Field Airport in Jackson and assisted the undercover FBI agent in removing four suitcases, which Jefferson believed to contain cocaine, from an airplane and into the undercover FBI agent’s vehicle.
Jefferson was paid $6,000 for his protection.
Also on June 25, 2010, Officer Jenkins provided protection for what he believed was a drug transaction of approximately 20 kilos of cocaine between two undercover FBI agents in the parking lot of Hawkins Field Airport.
Jenkins was paid $5,000 for protecting the transaction.
Jenkins then provided further protection by following the second undercover FBI agent from Hawkins Field Airport to Interstate 20.
Later that afternoon, another undercover FBI agent arrived at Hawkins Field Airport and simulated the purchase of approximately 20 kilos of cocaine from the first undercover FBI agent in the presence of Payne and Jefferson.
Payne was paid $5,000 for his protection and then provided further protection by following the third undercover FBI agent from Hawkins Field Airport to the Hanging Moss Road area.
In each instance, the defendants were either in their Jackson Police Department uniform or driving their patrol car.
“It is a reprehensible crime for a police officer to betray the badge,” said U.S. Attorney Dowdy. “If a police officer chooses to side with criminals they have sworn to protect the public from, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Nothing about these arrests should reflect adversely on law enforcement as a whole. The overwhelming majority of men and women who strap on a badge every day and put their lives on the line are dedicated and honorable.”
Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi, stated: “These officers swore to protect and serve the citizens of Jackson and, instead, sought opportunities to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.”
The Jackson Police Department confirmed that Payne resigned in 2010 and that Jefferson and Jenkins no longer work for the department.