Former Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Antione Riggins has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and making a false statement to cover up his drug crimes.
Riggins, of Loganville, is 41. According to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, the charges and other information presented in court, Riggins was a federally-deputized task force officer with Homeland Security Investigations in 2017, while also employed as a deputy sheriff with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.
In these roles, Riggins was responsible for investigating drug trafficking cases and transporting seized drugs from HSI crime scenes to the Sheriff’s Office evidence room.
On Feb. 23, 2017, HSI seized 3 kilograms of cocaine following a high-speed car chase and crash on Interstate 285. HSI identified the suspected owner of the cocaine, even though he fled from the crash and was not apprehended.
HSI agents tasked Riggins with transporting the cocaine to the Sheriff’s Office evidence vault. The next day, however, Riggins checked only 1 kilogram of cocaine into evidence, not three, and he failed to secure a warrant for the arrest of the cocaine trafficker.
Riggins also made a false document to cover up his cocaine theft. In particular, he created and submitted a falsified evidence form claiming the identity of the drug trafficker was unknown, and only 1 kilogram of cocaine was seized at the scene.
On July 14, 2017, HSI seized approximately 6 kilograms of methamphetamine from an Atlanta hotel room. An HSI agent again tasked Riggins with transporting the methamphetamine to the Sheriff’s Office evidence vault, but none of the methamphetamine was subsequently checked into evidence.
Three days later, on July 17, 2017, HSI seized approximately 4 kilograms of heroin and 172 oxycodone pills from a metro Atlanta stash house. Once again, Riggins was made responsible for transporting the drugs to the evidence room. Riggins stole all but 96 grams of the heroin.
Riggins’s role at HSI ended in early 2018, and his employment with the GCSO ended after these alleged actions came to the attention of law enforcement in May 2018.
“Antione Riggins was assigned to a federal task force when he became the subject of a criminal investigation which resulted in a 10 year prison sentence,” Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said Tuesday. “I’m satisfied justice was served in this case and appreciate the many more law enforcement officers who carry out their duties honorably throughout their careers. They remain worthy of our trust, respect and support.”
Pak said Riggins violated the most basic oath of officers to protect the public by putting dangerous drugs back on the street after they had been seized by law enforcement, and that his conviction and sentence was a victory for the rule of law. He said it shows there are severe consequences for abusing the public’s trust.
“Removing this corrupt officer from our midst helps restore public confidence in our strong law enforcement team,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama, said. “HSI Atlanta will continue to work with our great local, federal and state partners to make our communities safer.”
Vic Reynolds, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said corruption within the law enforcement ranks will not be tolerated. The GBI, Reynolds said, is committed to working with local and federal partners to investigate these types of crimes.
“This case is a reminder that no officer is above the law,” Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said. “The FBI would like to thank our state and local law enforcement partners, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, for bringing this corrupt officer to justice.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security — Office of the Inspector General and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, with the assistance of the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor C. Wilmot prosecuted the case.