LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Two Little Rock police officers were arrested Thursday on federal drug charges that accused them of driving their marked patrol cars and wearing their uniforms while protecting controlled drug deliveries.
Officers Mark Anthony Jones and Randall Tremayn Robinson, who are half-brothers, face charges of conspiring to aid and abet and attempting to aid and abet the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm while taking part in a drug-trafficking crime, prosecutors said.
Both have been placed on paid administrative leave, Little Rock police spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said.
“It is disheartening to know that members of this department are alleged to have violated their oaths and our trust in the manner detailed in the criminal complaint,” Police Chief Stuart Thomas said in a statement, which also praised other officers who participated in the investigation.
It wasn’t clear whether Jones, 45, and Robinson, 38, had lawyers. A message left at a phone number listed for a Randall T. Robinson wasn’t returned, and a woman who answered a phone listing for a Mark A. Jones said it wasn’t the right number.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court Friday morning.
An FBI agent wrote in an affidavit that Jones was wearing his uniform, carrying a weapon and driving a market patrol car when he was involved in the protection of three controlled drug deliveries orchestrated by a confidential informant working with investigators.
Prosecutors allege that Robinson took part in protecting the third delivery while driving a marked patrol car on duty and in uniform. Investigators said the deliveries totaled about 1,400 pounds of marijuana.
The FBI agent wrote that the informant called Jones in January and arranged to meet him at a Whole Foods grocery store, where Jones would be working an off-duty security job.
During the recorded meeting, the informant said he was on herb, a slang term for marijuana, and needed someone to watch his back. Jones told him to plan it out and let him know what he needed, according to the affidavit.
Jones provided security for a controlled delivery of what he believed to be 200 pounds of pharmaceutical-grade marijuana, according to the affidavit. The FBI agent said Jones received $2,000 for protecting what he thought was a drug shipment.
In March, Jones and Robinson both provided security for the controlled delivery of what they thought was 1,000 pounds of marijuana, according to the affidavit. Both officers were on duty, armed, in uniform and driving marked patrol vehicles, the affidavit said.
While Robinson was providing security to one vehicle, there was a shooting in west Little Rock, and all police cars were ordered to respond.
“As other police cars were traveling to the scene of the shooting, they passed Robinson’s patrol car following the vehicle with the marijuana,” the affidavit says. The incident was allegedly recorded by cameras in the police cars responding to the shooting.
That same day, Jones picked up two packages each containing $5,000 for their help, according to the affidavit.