After pleading guilty Thursday in federal court to safeguarding stolen property and proceeds from their sale in 2011, three local cops and one Cherryville resident face the prospect of serving federal sentences for their crimes.
According to media reports Mark Ray Hoyle, Casey Justin Crawford, Wesley Clayton Golden and David Paul Mauney III each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to transport or receive stolen property and conspiracy to extort under color of official right
Clayton, 39, was a reserve officer with the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, and Crawford, 32, and Mauney, 23, served as officers with the Cherryville agency at the time of the incidents, the Times-News previously reported.
Hoyle, a 39-year-old Cherryville resident, also pleaded guilty in the case to a count of money laundering conspiracy, according to media reports. His wife, Jennifer Hoyle, was also charged last year for allegedly embezzling city funds while working as a city employee.
Cherryville resident John Ashley Hendricks, 47, and Cherryville officer Frankie Dellinger, 40, were also charged in the federal case in October. Neither has been reported as admitting to any wrongdoing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation knew about Dellinger’s alleged criminal activity in 2011. As a result, the FBI setup a rouse to target the alleged “dirty” cop and others who may have been working with him by pretending to be criminals, requesting officers’ legal authority in transporting stolen goods through the area on tractor trailers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a previous Times-News article.
In addition, federal authorities said the officers defamed their badges by accepting cash bribes from the undercover agents, whom they believed to be criminals.
Days after the scandal rocked the city and the six men were charged, Cherryville Police Chief Woodrow Burgess and Sgt. Mike Allred were suspended from the agency. However, Burgess later resigned from the department, a move he had planned to do earlier in the year, he told the Times-News. Cam Jenks, a former sergeant with the department, was later named the new acting police chief.
While a sentencing date has not been set at this time, each of the four men who’ve pleaded guilty so far could spend decades in prison and pay thousands of dollars in fines.
Attached to the money laundering charge is a maximum of two decades in prison and a fine of up to $500 or double the price of the transported goods’ value. The transportation conspiracy charge carries the weight of a five-year maximum prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.
Lastly, the extortion conspiracy charge involves another nearly 20-year prison penalty and up to $250,000 in restitution or twice the worth of the property involved in the transaction.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.