Clayton County police officer Dwayne Penn, who had also been assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, is now facing federal charges for corruption, drug trafficking and weapons after federal authorities say he conspired with a drug dealer to sell stolen cocaine.
The nine-year veteran is accused of working with a drug dealer to plan and conduct a fake narcotics arrest, and then sell the seized the drugs later, according to court records.
Penn was arrested Wednesday after an FBI investigation and sting.
“Penn’s abuse of trust is shocking,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Police officers who manipulate their positions create mistrust with the people they are sworn to protect. As demonstrated by the number of police officer cases charged earlier this year, we are committed to pursuing these cases wherever they arise to restore the public’s trust in honest law enforcement.”
During Penn’s first appearance in federal court Thursday, Judge Alan J. Baverman said he is being held on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, attempting to possess drugs for distribution, attempting to obstruct and affect commerce by unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance, and using a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in August 2013, Penn allegedly conspired with Adrian Demetric Austin, a suspected Atlanta-based drug dealer, to use Penn’s official position as a police officer to stage a fake traffic stop of a car that he and Austin believed would contain six kilograms of cocaine, conduct a fake arrest of the car’s occupant, seize the cocaine for themselves, and then sell the cocaine.
Unfortunately for the pair, the person they sought to recruit for their endeavor was cooperating with federal law enforcement and agreed to record his/her meetings with Penn and Austin. In the lead up to the fake arrest and seizure, Penn and Austin met face-to-face with the confidential informant on two separate occasions to plan their operation.
Penn will remain in federal custody pending a probable cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.