Former deputy's alleged drug sales took place outside Newton County

COVINGTON — The former Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputy charged with selling drugs to FBI agents apparently conducted most of the alleged transactions outside Newton County and near his home in Lithonia.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the North District of Georgia, 40-year-old Darrell Mathis sold a little more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana over the course of four months to a confidential informant and undercover investigator with the FBI.

During many of the transactions, Mathis was wearing his NCSO uniform and firearm, often appearing in his marked patrol car, according to the complaint.

Based on the allegations in the complaint, a confidential informant first advised the FBI in April that Mathis had about 1 pound of marijuana in his apartment and that he told the informant at that time that he sells marijuana.

“(Mathis) stated that he does not worry about the police pulling him over because he drives safely and flashes his police credentials to get out of tickets if he is stopped,” the complaint reads.

The informant also noted that Mathis always had a lot of money but was not known to work any off-duty jobs.

After notifying the FBI, the informant arranged to purchase 1 ounce of marijuana “for a friend,” according to the complaint.

“Mathis arrived in his marked patrol car. He exited his patrol car wearing his NCSO uniform and firearm,” the complaint states.

After exchanging $100 for the marijuana, Mathis allegedly told the informant to tell the friend that he “did her right, I gave her a little extra.”

The informant then introduced the undercover FBI agent to Mathis in May as a customer who wanted to purchase 1/4 pound of marijuana.

Again, according to the complaint, Mathis arrived at this meeting wearing his NCSO uniform with a firearm and driving his patrol car.

Later in May, the FBI agent acting in an undercover capacity, traveled to a store in Lithonia to meet Mathis to purchase more marijuana. This time, Mathis arrived in his personal vehicle.

In June, the undercover agent went to Mathis’ Lithonia apartment where his patrol car was parked to purchase 1 pound - or $1,000 worth - of marijuana.

“During this meeting, Mathis told the (undercover agent) that he is a police officer,” the complaint states.

Mathis also allegedly told the agent that he sells about 10 to 15 pounds a marijuana a week.

Again, in August, the FBI agent met with Mathis at his apartment to purchase another pound of marijuana. After the transaction was complete, the two prepared to leave to meet a second undercover agent — who was posing as a cocaine dealer who may want to purchase some marijuana — at a restaurant in East Point, according to the complaint.

“Prior to leaving Mathis’ apartment to meet with (the second undercover agent), Mathis stated that he wanted to grab his badge and gun, ‘just in case,’” the complaint states.

During that meeting in East Point, Mathis told the second agent that he is a police officer and showed his deputy sheriff’s badge, the complaint states.

“After seeing (the agent’s) reaction to the badge, Mathis stated, ‘Don’t worry, I’m on your side,’” according to the complaint.

Mathis then allegedly agreed that he would be willing to transport marijuana or cocaine from Alabama to North Carolina.

FBI agents arrested Mathis on Sept. 19 and charged him with distributing marijuana and using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Upon learning of Mathis’ arrest, Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown immediately placed Mathis on administrative leave with pay and later dismissed him from the Sheriff’s Office.

“My office is completely cooperating with the FBI in this investigation,” Brown said Friday. “This is an embarrassment to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, as well as law enforcement in general.”

Mathis had been employed with the NCSO since 2008 and had no previous disciplinary problems with the Sheriff’s Office.