Monday, December 22, 2014 | 11:12 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A former Winston County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty in federal court to using his authority to extort a woman into manufacturing methamphetamine. His charges also allege he made her cook meth in a home with a child.
Grady Keith Concord, 42, of Lynn entered his guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Abdul K Kallon on Monday. U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr. said he pleaded guilty to one count of extortion under color of official right, one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine on premises where children are present or reside.
"Sheriff's deputies are supposed to protect people from harm. Instead, this defendant broke the law and coerced a woman into violating the law and manufacturing methamphetamine for him in a way that put lives, including a child's, in danger," Vance said in a statement. "Most law enforcement officers serve honorably, but we will prosecute those who break the law."
Concord was arrested on state charges in June. He was fired from the Winston County Sheriff's Office shortly after. Concord was indicted on federal charges in November.
Authorities say Concord, who used meth, approached a woman living in the Nauvoo area and pressured her into making the drugs for him. He allegedly agreed to supply pseudoephedrine for the meth-making process. Investigators say he wanted this done at the woman's home knowing she had two children there and one of them was a minor.
Authorities say Concord got the pseudoephedrine pills from the sheriff's department's evidence room. He and his wife also allegedly bought more pills.
Authorities say he delivered the pills on several occasions between July 2013 and June 2014. Concord denies claims he threatened the woman with an arrest warrant if she didn't comply, but investigators say he conceded that she may have felt pressured to comply anyway due to his status as a deputy.
"We entrust law enforcement officers with certain powers and authority, which they are expected to wield with the utmost integrity," Schwein said in a statement. "Mr. Concord's actions breached the public trust and dishonored the badge that he once carried. This case shows that abuse of that power and authority will not be tolerated."
Concord's defense attorney, Richard Jaffe, released the following statement on his client's behalf:
"Mr. Concord accepted total responsibility from the day of his arrest, and realizes that he should have sought treatment for his horrific addiction rather than break the law and public trust. He makes no excuses, and the many people who know and love him realize the depth of his pain and remorse."
Concord faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the extortion count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the count of manufacturing methamphetamine. Any sentence imposed for the manufacture of methamphetamine where minors reside or are present must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. The maximum penalty for that count is 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
As part of Concord's plea agreement, he must surrender all law enforcement certifications and not seek future employment in law enforcement or custodial oversight. This includes work as a correctional or probation officer or a bail bondsman.
The investigation was a collaborative effort between the FBI, State Bureau of Investigation, Lauderdale County Drug Task Force agents assigned to the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force, and the Winston/Marion County District Attorney's Office with the cooperation of the Winston County Sheriff's Office and the Lynn Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamarra Matthews Johnson prosecuted the case.
Original story from www.al.com.