Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Altamonte Springs police officer, wife arrested on federal drug, weapons charges

Altamonte Springs Police Chief Robert Merchant

Jim Leusner

Sentinel Staff Writer

4:19 PM EDT, July 22, 2008


An Altamonte Springs police officer - recently kicked out of a countywide drug task force -- and his wife have been arrested on federal drug and weapons charges. Authorities said he also was planning to kill a former drug unit supervisor.

Clay T. Adams, 36, a master patrolman, was arrested by a task force of agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireams and Explosives; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. His wife, Robyn, also was charged.

Adams has been suspended without pay, Altamonte Springs Police Chief Robert Merchant said at a press conference held Tuesday.

"I am extremely upset," he said. "We work very, very hard to build our reputation only to have it brought down by (Adams') actions."

Adams was arrested as he reported for duty at 7:30 p.m., said Altamonte Police spokesman Tim Hyer. "It was shocking to hear," PFC. Robert Pelton said. "It hit us out of left field. It's disappointing that one of your own could do something like that."

At a brief bail hearing Tuesday afternoon in federal court, attorneys for the couple asked that proceedings be delayed until Friday so they could prepare their defense.

Throughout the hearing, Robyn Adams wept and covered her face with a tissue. Her husband conferred with his lawyer and briefly answered questions from the judge.

Assistant U.S Attorney Rob Bodnar asked that the couple be detained without bail because the case involved weapons and that both defendants had made threats against the informant and others in the case. Bodnar said the couple faces up to life in prison, if convicted.

They are being held without bail at the Seminole County Jail.

A complaint filed by ATF agent Timothy Gunning charges that Adams was a cop gone bad, who ran a marijuana grow-house operation which supplied distributors in Tallahassee and dealt illicit prescription drugs. It also said Adams provided weapons to an informant who is a convicted felon and who tipped authorities about the scheme earlier this month.

The informant, who recorded numerous conversations with the couple, said Clay provided him with driver's license photos, undercover and real names of drug agents of Seminole's City-County Investigative Bureau, their vehicle descriptions and techniques used by them.

Adams joined CCIB earlier this year to learn investigative techniques used to detect marijuana growing operations, Gunning wrote. But he was forced out of the unit last month.

"Clay was extremely upset a month ago when he was reprimanded by a supervisor," Gunning wrote. "As a result of the reprimand, Clay was removed from CCIB. Clay advised [the informant] that he will let the issue cool off for a couple of months and then "take [the supervisor] out" when he least expects it, utlizing a .308-caliber rifle equipped with a silencer," Gunning wrote.

CCIB Capt. Sammy Gibson said Adams served in the unit from March to June, when Adams transferred back to his agency. He referred inquiries about the case to federal authorities.

The complaint gives this account of the investigation: On July 7, ATF interviewed the informant, who had known Adams for years since he joined the Altamonte force in 1999. The informant said Adams secretly was addicted to OxyContin, a powerful pain reliever, and that he observed Adams at an Orlando pain clinic. He said Adams feared his job would be in danger if his employer discovered his addiction.

Adams' wife, Robyn, is employed by an orthopedic surgeon and obtained OxyContin for him. She also had a mail box in her name to obtain marijuana seeds shipped in her name over the Internet from the Netherlands, Gunning wrote.

The informant said Adams approached him with an offer to "get rich" from a $5,500 investment in a marijuana grow-house operation -- including $2,000 for the purchase of an assault rifle to protect the grow-house. On July 9, the informant gave the money to Adams and was instructed to find a home for the operation and steal a license plate for vehicles driven to the site. Meanwhile, Adams went to various stores to buy hydroponic equipment.

Adams, who carried multiple firearms, had a hidden room in his home with several assault weapons, shotguns and grenades, the informant said. He provided the informant an Uzi-type semi-automatic rifle for $2,000.

Adams told the informant that "he would never lose his job and go to jail without a fight and that he would kill anyone who [messed] with him," the complaint said. Robyn Adams also told the informant she would kill anyone who exposed the operation.

The officer bragged to the informant that he mastered the thwarting of employment polygraph examinations by taking Valium pills to reduce his blood pressure and avoid deceptive readings.

Eventually, the informant and investigators leased a home for Adams to set up the marijuana growing site. On Sunday, Adams told the informant he and his wife set up the growing operation over the prior few nights. Police raided the home after the arrests.

The couple is charged with several firearms violations including possessing firearms in a drug-trafficking offense, unlawful transferr of a machine gun and conspiracy.

Sentinel staff writer Vincent Bradshaw contributed to this report.

6 comments:

viagra online said...

How can is possible that men who protect us in any country could his wife have access to drugs and weapon, in this moment nothing is safe please make sure don't to hide weapon in your house.

Anonymous said...

Clay was a friend of mine in Tallahassee. I wonder where he is now.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if anyone knows his whereabouts please write something up here and I'll find it and contact you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

He's an inmate at FCI Beaumont (Low) in Beaumont, TX.

Anonymous said...

Clay was my roommate in Panama city and I lived at his house for a while when he started for APD. Before any of this crap.

Anonymous said...

can Vincent Bradshaw give us an update on these two criminals?