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FBI says former cop warned drug dealer of wiretap

A former Cartersville police officer is facing charges of obstructing an FBI drug trafficking investigation.

Bryson-Taylor Wayne Banks, 31, of Cartersville, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Bob Page said in a news release. 

Banks allegedly tipped off drug traffickers when he was part of a drug task force with the Cartersville Police Department in 2015, Page said. 

The officer’s career with Cartersville police began in 2008.

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Officials said that in 2014 he began giving an informant information from a confidential database, which allowed the informant to warn drug traffickers about the presence of law enforcement. 

In July 2015, the FBI obtained court authorization to wiretap two Georgia state prison inmates’ cellphones after they were suspected of using contraband phones to coordinate drug deals, Page said. 

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On multiple occasions, the inmate discussed drug trafficking activities with fellow drug trafficker Tomas Pineda Mendoza. 

The FBI told Banks about its wiretap investigation, including the fact that an inmate was planning to distribute two kilograms of methamphetamine to Mendoza later that day. Following this conversation, Banks allegedly warned his informant to advise Mendoza not to pick up drugs that day, Page said.

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Banks then disclosed the FBI wiretap of the inmate’s phones to his informant. Later that day, the FBI intercepted communications that revealed that the inmate had learned of the wiretap. The inmate then discontinued the use of his phones, and the FBI investigation was compromised. 

“His conduct is shocking, especially from someone sworn to uphold the law,” U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a news release. “Leaks of sensitive investigative information undermined the hard work of law enforcement officers and put them in real danger.”

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