Former deputy pleads guilty to providing protection for meth dealers

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WAYCROSS, Ga. - A a former Pierce County deputy pleaded guilty last week for his role in trafficking methamphetamine.

According to the evidence presented during his guilty plea hearing, Randy Strickland, 55, agreed to act as "security" for individuals he believed were dealing meth by acting as the lookout. Strickland's drug activities occurred while he was in uniform and armed, and while he was driving his police vehicle.

After receiving information about Strickland's apparent criminal activities, Pierce County Sheriff Ramsey Bennett immediately requested federal law enforcement assistance. As a result, Strickland's last "security detail" was for a confidential informant and under the watchful eyes of several federal agents. On that occasion, Strickland agreed to act as the lookout for who he believed to be a drug dealer selling ounces of methamphetamine. Shortly after receiving his charged fee of $100, which at Strickland's direction was placed in a potato chip bag on the side of a road, Strickland was arrested by federal authorities.

"Former Deputy Sheriff Strickland's actions tarnished the badge and the community's trust," United States Attorney Edward Tarver said. "Police corruption leaves a stain on the good work of our law enforcement community. Make no mistake that defendants who violate the trust of this community, law enforcement or otherwise, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Strickland faces up to 20 years in prison for his conviction. There is no parole in the federal system.

Strickland's sentencing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes a presentence investigation report.

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