After spending two days in the federal courthouse in Greenville this week, we’re convinced the movie had a plot.
The sentencing hearings of the 14 who took pleas in the Operation Rockfish police corruption case brought out some things we didn’t know and only confirmed the things we did.
Then there are things we may never know, like the possible links between prime target Lann Clanton and convicted federal drug dealers Sterling Moody and Elton Boone. It was something United States Judge Malcolm Howard put out there for the court to hear and our eyes widened.
There were new details brought out we hadn’t heard before.
We had read the name Agent Lisa in previous court documents.
We hadn’t thought much about it. Then it was revealed how a woman described in court this week as beautiful and by sources who have seen her as exquisite rolled up in the Roanoke Valley in a black Mercedes.
The movie definitely had a plot.
Arguments for sentencing variances talked about the economic woes here in Northeastern North Carolina, essentially implying the offers of $2,000 per operation were too good to pass up for law enforcement and correctional officers who aren’t paid what they deserve.
The scenario played over and over in the arguments for lighter sentences and we see the camera pan to post-arrest Kavon Phillips working in a chicken house and Curtis Boone working at Don Pancho on Highway 903.
Before his fall, Corey Jackson received numerous citations for bravery in diffusing a near-deadly shooting at the Northampton County Courthouse. Other officers had stellar careers, had worked their way up through the ranks.
Our thinking is life is hard everywhere and there were alternatives to accepting dirty money.
The plot thickens as Clanton sits on a yacht in Miami accepting a $9,000 Rolex while Ikeisha Jacobs does the same.
Rural Scarface is how we describe it to a paralegal who once worked as a reporter.
Clanton, there is a movie about him alone, his robbing of a drug courier, the original target of the investigation.
The plot is all there — the desperation to make ends meet knowing, however, this is an illegal operation which they believe is tied to a Mexican cartel.
We’ve discussed intent before. It doesn’t matter if these were fake drugs or real drugs. It doesn’t matter the alluring Lisa was an undercover agent and not a cartel player. They fell in the ploy to move what they believed were real drugs along the East Coast.
The plot to a movie? Thomas Jefferson Allen II discussing his ideas to expand this operation after only one operation and boasting of ties to Russian mobsters. Whether it was to gain street cred or not, it doesn’t matter, he said it, several of them wanting to see this sham operation grow.
Rural Scarface? One of the attorneys mentioned his client began to realize this was not a run of the mill Roanoke Rapids drug trafficking organization.
What this attorney doesn’t understand, however, is how sophisticated these run of the mill rural rubes might be. We’ve seen it with the likes of Spoke Garner, Moody, Boone and Randy Lynch.
We’re beginning to see it in the plot for another movie in the United Blood Nation indictment in the western district of the state where documents tie two local people to two murders and indicate two others allegedly being major players within the group.
While the big city lawyers may think of these players as being mere hayseeds playing a wannabe role, what we’re seeing unraveling is a very dirty and frightening underbelly going beyond the day-to-day entries in cop blotters and arrest reports.
In this movie, we see it ending with sometimes tearful admissions of guilt, sobs from family members and Phillips blowing a kiss to family members as he is escorted out of the courthouse to begin serving his time.
Silent movie without a plot?
Operation Rockfish was a very loud movie of intrigue, greed and mysteries we’re only now beginning to see and understand.
And to refute the notion we read in the court document nearly a year ago, yes, it always had a plot — Editor