WASHINGTON – Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Divisionannounced today that two former public officials were sentenced for their rolesin a widespread bribery and extortion conspiracy which operated from January2002 through March 2004. The defendants were sentenced in U.S. District Courtfor the District of Arizona by the Honorable Cynthia K. Jorgenson.
The two sentenced today were:
Joy McBrayer Graham, 37, a former Arizona Army National Guardswoman, who wassentenced to four years probation and a $3,000 fine.
Mark Ryan Shipley, 24, a civilian falsely purporting to be serving in theArizona Army National Guard, who was sentenced to 24 months in prison, a $3,000fine, and three years of supervised release.
The charges arise from Operation Lively Green, an undercover investigationconducted by the FBI that began in December 2001. The individuals are the finaltwo defendants to be sentenced as part of this operation. Fifty-fouradditional defendants have previously been sentenced.
The defendants had each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to enrichthemselves by obtaining cash bribes from persons they believed to be narcoticstraffickers - but who were in fact FBI special agents in return for thedefendants using their official positions to assist, protect, and participate inthe activities of an illegal narcotics trafficking organization engaged in thebusiness of transporting and distributing cocaine from Arizona to otherlocations in the southwestern United States. In order to protect the shipmentsof cocaine, the defendants wore official uniforms, carried official forms ofidentification, used official vehicles, and used their color of authority wherenecessary to prevent police stops, searches and seizures of the narcotics asthey drove the cocaine shipments on highways that passed through checkpointsmanned by the U.S. Border Patrol, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, andNevada law enforcement officers.
These cases are part of a joint investigation conducted by the Southern ArizonaCorruption Task Force (SACTF), which is comprised of the FBI, the DrugEnforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)at the Department of Homeland Security, and the Tucson Police Department. Though not part of the SACTF, the Arizona Air National Guard, Air Force Officeof Special Investigations, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and theCriminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service alsoparticipated in the investigation. The cases were prosecuted by Trial AttorneysMichael Ferrara, Andrew Levchuk, and Peter Koski of the U.S. Department ofJustice, Criminal Division, Public Integrity Section, headed by Chief William M.Welch II. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma hasalso secured the guilty pleas of 14 defendants in a related investigation,Operation Tarnished Star.