GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A local law enforcement officer working for a federal task force is now off the job, accused of stealing a large amount of drugs from evidence.
Sources told Channel 2 Action News veteran deputy, Antoine Riggins, resigned from the force last week as investigators began questioning him about two kilograms of cocaine that never made it to evidence at the jail. No criminal charges have been filed, but they are expected within days.
Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office commanders said as soon as they learned of the investigation from the district attorney, they called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look at the possible corruption and specifically Riggins.
Riggins has been with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office since 2004, assigned to the federal task force for two years.
"It's shocking," said Deputy Chief Lou Solis. "The shock it's not only one of these guys, it's our guy."
Authorities said records show in at least one case three kilograms of cocaine were taken from a scene, but Riggins allegedly checked in only one kilogram into evidence lockers.
Sources said when investigators began questioning Riggins last week about the missing cocaine and two other cases where heroine and ecstasy may have disappeared, Riggins asked for a lawyer and resigned. His lawyer said Riggins will cooperate.
"They have asked Mr. Riggins to come in and give some information," said Mike Puglise, Riggins' lawyer. "He is a decorated veteran of the Iraqi War, a good man, a good family man. His children are suffering from health related problems, and he's been there as a father."
Investigators said the amount taken is way too much for personal use, so they really want to know who else, including law enforcement, might be involved.
"They want to find out is it possible there are more people involved, and it is. Who are those people?" asked Solis.
The street value could easily be into the tens of thousands of dollars.
"Unfortunately, because of the federal, state overlap he was able to exploit a weakness in the evidence system, and it relied on his documentation which he then falsified," said Danny Porter, Gwinnett County District Attorney.
Charges could come as early as this week against Riggins. Porter said the impact on local and federal cases could be large.
"We have to go back and review cases in which he was a witness and that type of thing," said Porter.
Riggins' home has been searched, and phones and other items were seized. His lawyer said Riggins stands by his service record and is home now taking care of his family, including two autistic children.
Cox Media Group