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Nashville cop charged in drug sting 6-year veteran allegedly wore uniform, used police vehicle to transport cocaine
A Nashville police officer accused of trying to assist drug traffickers in exchange for cash was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday night.
A federal grand jury indicted Richard Wilson, 31, on Wednesday and charged him with federal program fraud, cocaine distribution and money laundering. After his arrest, Wilson was immediately decommissioned by the Metro Nashville Police Department and stripped of his access to police computers, buildings and offices.
Michael Dwayne Wray of Murfreesboro and Adam Yates of Nashville, accused of dealing drugs, also are charged in the indictment.
In a sting operation conducted by the police department and FBI, Wilson received a total of $24,500 for assisting people he believed to be drug traffickers, according to the charges. On five occasions since April 5, Wilson allegedly accepted money and transported what he believed to be cocaine and drug money to Nashville-area locations. He was in his uniform and police vehicle on three of those occasions, according to the indictment.
In a news release, U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said the indictment should not reflect poorly on the police department.
“The public should be confident that we will doggedly pursue anyone who hides behind a gun and badge to commit criminal acts,” Martin said.
Police Chief Steve Anderson said he asked for the FBI’s help in the investigation “due to the very serious and intolerable information our department had received.” Anderson stressed that no other department employees have been implicated.
Amy S. Hess, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Memphis division, said public corruption is one of the bureau’s top priorities. Six-year veteran
Wilson was a six-year veteran of the force assigned to the department’s DUI unit. He previously worked as as General Sessions Court security officer. The criminal investigation of Wilson lasted several months, according to a Metro police news release.
A separate internal investigation by the police department is ongoing and expected to result in administrative charges that Wilson violated department rules and regulations.
Authorities would not say much about the charges beyond what is included in the indictment and their news releases.
Wilson made an initial appearance before a federal judge Wednesday afternoon. He will remain in custody at least until a detention hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday.