Memphis TN Dec 21 2011 Thanks to a confidential source with a recording device, a Memphis police officer was indicted Tuesday on drug charges after a 13-month investigation.
Michael Shane Sinnock, 35, was charged with possession and attempted possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Sinnock, a 13-year MPD veteran assigned to the Tillman Station precinct, has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We work hard as a department to represent trust, honor and integrity. When an officer makes choices such as these, it gives the entire department a black eye,” Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said in a statement.
Since 2003, more than 40 officers and civilian employees of the Memphis Police Department have been indicted on a variety of charges, including robbery, extortion and drug conspiracy.
According to the indictment, this case began in November 2010, when a source told police that he was involved in illegal activity with Sinnock.
According to the indictment, this is the chain of events that led to Sinnock’s arrest:
The source recorded phone calls and meetings with Sinnock over the next several months, in which past and future illegal actions were discussed.
Then, on Feb. 18, the source went to Sinnock’s home. There, Sinnock agreed to provide protection — on duty and in uniform — while the source transported four to five pounds of marijuana, the indictment states.
Six days later, they met again at a restaurant to talk about transporting five pounds of marijuana. Sinnock even offered to go with the source to get the drug.
Sinnock told the source they should do it that night, since bad weather was coming and police would be less likely to make a traffic stop.
On June 14, they met again at Sinnock’s home, when the officer tried to buy a pound of marijuana.
On Dec. 9, the source met Sinnock in a parking lot at Poplar and Highland while the officer was on duty. The source told Sinnock that he was going to Texas to get 200 pounds of marijuana; Sinnock said he wanted to buy two pounds.
The next day, during a phone call, Sinnock asked if the source would get him “twenty tens,” code for 20 Lortab tablets.
On Dec. 14, the source and Sinnock met in the parking lot of Eastgate Shopping Center in East Memphis.
The source opened the trunk to reveal two large duffel bags, prompting Sinnock to say, “Damn!”
Then the source drove to a Downtown parking garage, with Sinnock following in his patrol car. He did not alert dispatch that he was leaving his assigned precinct. Unbeknownst to Sinnock, the FBI and others were watching the whole time.
Two days later, the pair met at Eastgate again. Pretending it was a car sale, the source gave Sinnock 20 Lortabs at a cost of $50. Shortly afterward, agents swooped in and arrested Sinnock, who had the 20 painkiller pills in his front pocket.
Sinnock was investigated by the Tarnished Badge Task Force, made up of investigators from the FBI, Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
Sinnock was also named in a lawsuit in 2004, charging that he and three other officers beat a 37-year-old man during a traffic stop. That case eventually was dismissed.