Thursday, June 14, 2012

Former Memphis Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Violations

MEMPHIS—Michael Shane Sinnock, age 37, of Memphis, Tennessee, pled guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, announced United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III; Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Memphis Division, Aaron T. Ford; and Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong.

According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court, and the statement of facts made by Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Coleman to U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson, on December 16, 2011, Sinnock, a Memphis Police officer, arranged for the purchase of 20 Loritab tablets from an informant known to the government. Upon meeting the informant in the parking lot of Eastgate Shopping Center, Sinnock bought what he believed to be Loritab while on duty, driving his patrol car, and in uniform. Upon arrest by special agents and task force officers of the Tarnished Badge Task Force, Sinnock was found with a clear plastic bag containing 20 pills in his uniform pants pocket.

Sinnock will appear before U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson for sentencing on September 13, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

“The citizens of our community place great trust in law enforcement officers and the oath conferred upon them to serve and protect,” said Edward L. Stanton, III, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. “Hiding behind his Memphis Police Department badge, Sinnock’s outrageous criminal conduct can only be described as a brazen abuse of the public’s trust. Fighting public corruption remains a top priority for our office, and we will continue to bring to justice those law enforcement officers who disgrace the integrity of their oath.”

“When officers break the law they swear to uphold, they undermine the public’s confidence, and the damage they cause cannot be overstated,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “This plea is the result of hard work by the FBI and our law enforcement partners, and we will continue to aggressively identify, investigate, and put forward for prosecution those individuals who would betray the public’s trust.”

“This is a person who was privileged enough to be afforded the opportunity to serve this community as a police officer,” said Toney Armstrong, Memphis Police Director. “However, he made the decision to dishonor his badge and become a drug dealer. He has been given due process and now has made the decision to plead guilty. No one is above the law.”

This case is being investigated by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, which is comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Memphis Police Department, and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Coleman on behalf of the federal government.

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