A Clayton County Police officer is facing federal charges for allegedly scheming with a drug dealer to sell stolen cocaine, court officials said.
Nine-year officer Dwayne A. Penn is accused of working with a drug dealer to plan and conduct a fake narcotics arrest, and then sell the seized the drugs later , according to court records.
Penn was arrested Wednesday after an FBI investigation and sting. On Thursday, during Penn’s first appearance in federal court, Judge Alan J. Baverman said he is being held on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, attempting to possess drugs for distribution, attempting to obstruct and affect commerce by unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance, and using a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Federal authorities said that a confidential FBI informant who was wearing a secret wire, helped record phone conversations and face-to-face meetings between Penn and Adrian Demetric Austin, who is accused of being a drug dealer. The authorities said the informant told Austin and Penn that he would meet a cocaine source Wednesday morning to buy 6 kilograms of cocaine.
The plan called for the three men to divide six bricks of cocaine evenly amongst themselves, prosecutors said.
Penn would lie in wait in his Clayton County Police squad car, then pull up to make the arrest within sight of the supplier, the informant said.
“I can put the lights on,” Penn told the informant, according to a federal arrest warrant affidavit. “I can put you in handcuffs.”
Austin was to be at the scene as well, although his role in the plan was unclear.
With FBI and DEA agents watching, according to the federal affidavit, Penn arrived around 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday at 4500 Memorial Drive in DeKalb County and began checking license plates against a national crime information database.
Around 11:30 a.m., the informant and the supplier arrived, and the pair made their deal, the affidavit said.
Penn rushed up, exited his car wearing a bulletproof vest labeled “Police,” and pointed his handgun at the informant, ordering the informant to the ground, prosecutors said.
The supplier fled, prosecutors said.
Penn put the informant in the back of the police car and retrieved four of the six bricks he believed to be cocaine from the informant’s car, the affidavit said.
Then Penn put the four bricks into the trunk of the police car and let the informant go, shouting, “get out of here” as the informant fled, the affidavit said.
Penn drove away, and federal agents arrested him and Austin separately, prosecutors said Thursday.
Penn, who has been with the Clayton County Police since 2004, was assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force at the time of his arrest. Penn has been placed on unpaid leave, pending an internal investigation, according to Gary Syblis, Clayton police public information officer.
He survived a gunshot wound to the face during his first year as a policeman, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Penn will remain in federal custody pending a probable cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.