Former Windsor police officer convicted for role in narcotics ring

Antonio Tillmon (Photo courtesy Wake County Jail)

WINDSOR, Bertie County - Former Windsor Police officer Antonio Tillmon was found guilty of drug, firearm and bribery charges, as the only individual to be tried as part of the Operation Rockfish investigation.

That inquiry saw 15 individuals arrested in 2015 in Virginia and North Carolina - mostly law enforcement officials - that took part in trafficking narcotics. The remaining 14 have all taken plea agreements and await sentencing later this year.

Tillmon was convicted of multiple counts of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, attempting to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiring to use and carry firearms in relation to drug trafficking offenses, using and carrying firearms in relation to drug trafficking offenses and federal programs bribery. He is set for sentencing in US District court of Eastern North Carolina on Aug. 8.

According to the US Department of Justice, the charges stemmed from a large scale undercover investigation into allegations of systemic law enforcement corruption in Northampton County, North Carolina. The evidence at trial established that Tillmon accepted $6,500 from undercover FBI agents posing as drug traffickers in return for transporting a total of 30 kilograms of heroin from North Carolina to Maryland over three separate occasions between August 2014 and April 2015. On each occasion, Tillmon carried his law enforcement badge and a firearm to secure the illicit narcotics. Tillmon was prepared to use his badge and fake documentation to evade drug interdiction in the event the transport vehicle was stopped. The evidence also showed that Tillmon agreed to participate in a fourth drug transport, to which he brought five firearms, including an assault rifle accompanied by three magazines of ammunition.