MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – We're learning more about the undercover federal operation that lead to the arrest of four Bibb County sheriff's deputies.
Deputy Jermaine Hill plead guilty to making false statements and stealing government money. In his plea deal, he explained how the accused deputies “ripped off” undercover FBI agents and how the operation went down.
Federal investigators started their case against the four deputies in November of last year.
According to federal court documents obtained by 41NBC, on November 21, 2013 Hill was sent on a call about a stolen car. FBI agents put surveillance equipment inside the vehicle and caught him stealing $1,000.
On January 3, 2014, FBI agents questioned Hill about whether he found money in the car. Court documents show he told investigators he did not find any money.
On January 15, Hill was interviewed again by the FBI. This time investigators showed him a portion of the video evidence. Hill admits he originally lied and stole the money. He then agreed to work with investigators in other investigations involving the other three Bibb deputies.
According to the plea deal, on February 28 Hill told deputy DeCarlo Latimore about a drug dealer who they could “rip-off.” The deputies stopped an undercover agent and searched the vehicle. They found money and cocaine. They took the money and drugs.
As part of the “rip-off,” the deputies agreed to give the cocaine to a drug dealer to sell it and then make money from the sale. FBI agents took the remaining money and drugs. On April 17, Latimore received $500 as his portion of the drug sale.
On March 20, Hill conducted a similar “rip-off” with deputy Jimmy Denson. They stopped an undercover agent and found $2,000 and cocaine. They split the cash and money from the drug sale.
Per court filings, on June 19 deputy Arthur Howard and Hill met with undercover agents posing as a pimp and prostitutes. The undercover pimp was asking for the deputies' protection in Bibb County in order to operate his alleged prostitution activities. The investigators paid the officers and promised more money would come.
Denson, Howard, and Latimore are all charged with attempted extortion. A pretrial hearing in their cases is scheduled for next week.
Hill's sentencing is set for October.
According to Bibb Sheriff's Office files, Hill resigned from the department on July 9. Sheriff David Davis terminated Denson, Howard, and Latimore on July 18.
41NBC looked into the employment history of all four deputies.
We found each of them had an exemplary background. Almost every performance evaluation described the deputies as dependable and great leaders. We also found a few disciplinary actions. Hill was written up for having poor work quality. Denson failed a written exam. Latimore was suspended for a day for allegedly falsely arrested a man in 2010. Howard had a one day suspension.