Valdosta, GA–A former Lowndes County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to conspiring to use his law enforcement authority to unlawfully detain and take money from motorists, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said today.
In connection with his plea, Jason Stacks admitted that he conspired with two civilians to subject Hispanic motorists to unlawful traffic stops so that the conspirators could demand the motorists pay money in order to avoid arrest and/or deportation. On Aug. 16, 2013, Stacks, while acting as a LCSO Deputy, unlawfully detained at least four motorists. One of the motorists, identified in the plea documents by the initials T.C., was unlawfully detained by Stacks and then approached by Stacks’s two Spanish-speaking co-conspirators, who explained to T.C. that he would be sent to jail or deported if he did not pay $500. When T.C. responded that he did not have $500 in his car, the co-conspirators drove T.C. to his residence and took $300 in cash from him. Stacks and the two co-conspirators divided the $300 among them.
“Mr. Stacks admitted that he conspired to use his badge to unlawfully detain and take money from motorists,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who seek to profit from the violation of civil rights.”
“Today’s guilty plea is another example of the zero tolerance the Department of Justice has for law enforcement officers who violate individuals’ civil rights,” said U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia.
This case has been investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.