Federal authorities believe that Anthony Atwater, a Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy, provided protection for drug dealers in exchange for money earlier this year. On Friday, Atwater pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the alleged corruption in an Atlanta federal courtroom.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution has the story.
The FBI claims that Atwater accepted $4,000 in bribes in exchange for protecting drug dealers on January 23 and March 12 of this year. Authorities believe that the drug dealers in question were attempting to distribute approximately 500 kilograms of cocaine on those dates.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged Atwater with extortion and aiding and abetting drug distribution. Atwater also faces firearm charges, since he allegedly used his firearm to protect the drug dealers.
Under federal law, a person who is charged with aiding and abetting a crime generally faces the same sentence as an individual who actually commits the crime. In this case, federal law provides for a 10 year to life sentence for anyone convicted of distributing more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.
Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented many police officers and law enforcement agents accused of corruption and drug offenses. In our experience, such cases can often be difficult to handle due to media coverage and political pressures. In addition to zealously fighting any criminal charges, a good defense attorney will work hard to make sure that allegations do not lead to misleading news reports or disciplinary proceedings that could damage one’s reputation.