City firefighter accused of trying to bribe deputy|[07/13/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007

A Vicksburg firefighter is accused of trying to bribe a deputy sheriff during a drug investigation and now faces federal charges.

Eric Raynaldo Johnson, 35, 663 Hudson St., was arrested Thursday by the FBI in Jackson.

Sources said Johnson was assigned to the fire department’s rescue unit and was an eight-year city employee.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

His employment status was unclear today.

According to an FBI press release, Johnson is charged with knowingly and intentionally using a communications facility (telephone) to cause or facilitate a felony under the Controlled Substances Act, i.e., attempting to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and also attempting to bribe law enforcement officer(s) to dismiss criminal charges.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Johnson today was under investigation locally for drug charges only before he attempted to bribe a deputy who was involved in that investigation.

&#8220It was at that point we notified the FBI and made this a federal matter,” Pace said.

Johnson was arraigned Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Sumner. He was released on unsecured bond, and his trial was set for Aug. 7. He faces fines of up to $500,000 and 14 years in prison.

In the news release, Frederick Brink, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi, congratulated the agents and Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies who pursued the investigation.

&#8220It is never easy to investigate one of your own,” Brink said.” However, public corruption investigations remain a top priority.”