Listen to this article.
Former Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Antione Riggins has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to drug trafficking and making a false statement to cover up his drug crimes. Riggins committed these crimes while employed as a federal and local law enforcement officer.
“Riggins put dangerous drugs back on the street after they had been seized by law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “He violated the most basic oath of officers to protect the public. His conviction and sentence is a victory for the rule of law, and it shows that there are severe consequences for abusing the public’s trust.”
According to Pak, in 2017 Riggins was a federally-deputized task force officer with Homeland Security Investigations, 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 GCSO evidence room.
“Instead of enforcing the laws he swore to uphold, Riggins abused his position by stealing drugs and falsifying evidence reports,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This case is a reminder that no officer is above the law.”
On Feb. 23, 2017, HSI seized three kilograms of cocaine following a high-speed car chase and crash on I-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 GCSO evidence vault.
The next day, however, Riggins checked only one kilogram of cocaine into evidence, not three, and he failed to secure a warrant for the arrest of the cocaine trafficker, Pak said. Riggins also made a false document to cover up his cocaine theft. In particular, Riggins created and submitted a falsified evidence form claiming that the identity of the drug trafficker was unknown, and that only one kilogram of cocaine was seized at the scene.
On July 14, 2017, HSI seized approximately six kilograms of methamphetamine from an Atlanta hotel room. An HSI agent tasked Riggins with transporting the methamphetamine to the GCSO evidence vault; however, none of the methamphetamine was subsequently checked into evidence, Pak said.
According to the justice department, three days later, on July 17, 2017, HSI seized approximately four 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 sheriff’s office ended after these alleged actions came to the attention of law enforcement in May 2018.
“Riggins’ crimes extend beyond his lies and the drugs he stole, he also stole the public’s trust when he betrayed his oath to enforce the law,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Removing this corrupt officer from our midst helps restore public confidence in our strong law enforcement team. HSI Atlanta will continue to work with our great local, federal and state partners to make our communities safer.”
Antione Riggins, 41, of Loganville, has been sentenced to ten years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Riggins pleaded guilty to these charges on Nov. 25, 2019.
“This former officer violated his oath of office and the public’s trust. Corruption within the law enforcement ranks will not be tolerated. The GBI is committed to working with local and federal partners to investigate these types of crimes to ensure the public trust of officers is upheld,” said Vic Reynolds, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor C. Wilmot prosecuted the case.