FBI agents arrested a Nashville police officer Tuesday night after he allegedly attempted to distribute cocaine and accepted $24,500 in cash payments from persons he believed to be drug traffickers.
On Wednesday, a federal grand jury indicted Officer Richard Wilson, 31, of the Metro Nashville Police Department for his alleged willingness to help those he believed to be drug traffickers to distribute cocaine and engage in money laundering, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The MNPD immediately decommissioned Wilson, a six-year veteran of the department, following his arrest. Wilson still faces an internal investigation aside from the federal criminal investigation.
The indictment also charged Michael Dwayne Wray, 31, of Murfreesboro and Adam Yates, 32, of Nashville. Wray faces charges of attempting to distribute cocaine and money laundering, while Yates faces an attempt to distribute cocaine charge.
The indictment alleges that between April 5 and June 15 of this year, Wilson attempted to distribute “purported” cocaine on two dates and received cash payments for his help. Wilson allegedly transported what he believed to be cocaine and drug money in and around Nashville on several occasions — at least three of which while he was in uniform and in a police vehicle.
Last month according to the investigation, Wilson told undercover agents whom he believed to be drug dealers that he would help them by “providing security [and] running database checks” as well as finding storage space and transporting drug proceeds.
Metro police asked the FBI to join in an undercover investigation, which lasted several months, once the department determined one of its own, Wilson, may have aided drug distribution through his role as a police officer.
In a released statement, MNPD Chief Steve Anderson said Wilson’s alleged activity “betrayed the trust of Nashville’s citizens and the more than 1,800 honest and very hard working employees of our police department.”
Anderson added that no other police employees were implicated in the investigation.
U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said in the statement that the indictment isn’t a reflection of the police department as a whole but evidence that it would not tolerate corruption.
“The public should be confident,” Martin said, “that we will doggedly pursue anyone who hides behind a gun and a badge to commit criminal acts.”
Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess, of the FBI’s Memphis Division, said investigating public corruption is a high priority for the FBI, which would “vigorously investigate those who violate their oath and break the law.”
Wilson worked on the Metro police DUI Unit for the last year and a half. Before that, he worked as a patrol officer in the South and Hermitage precincts. According to the police department, Wilson was a General Sessions Court security officer before graduating from the police academy in 2005.
The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scarlett M. Singleton and Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur.