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HOUSTON—John Edward Scott, 35, of Houston, has been sentenced to federal prison for his participation with a Harris County sheriff’s deputy in a scheme to steal narcotics, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Scott pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by extortion in May 2011. Today, U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore sentenced him to 70 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.
In late 2010, the Houston Police Department (HPD) obtained information that members of law enforcement were robbing shipments of narcotics in Houston and subsequently initiated a sting operation. On Dec. 15, 2010, then Deputy Richard Bryan Nutt, 44, of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office met with co-defendants Nathaniel House, 38, Richard Jerome Banks, 39, Danny Wayne Bell, 41, and Scott. At the meeting, House told the group that a vehicle containing narcotics or narcotics proceeds would be driving through Houston. The co-defendants agreed to stop the vehicle, a Chrysler Aspen SUV, with the assistance of Deputy Nutt. Nutt was to conduct a traffic stop of the SUV, which was reportedly to be driven by a drug dealer from Mexico, and pretend to arrest the driver then release him while the co-defendants took the vehicle containing the drugs. The conspirators would then split the money from the sale of the drugs.
Later that day, Nutt, in full uniform and driving a silver pickup equipped with red and blue emergency lights, spotted and followed the Chrysler Aspen SUV as it drove into a parking lot of a Houston area shopping center. Once parked, the SUV driver, actually an undercover HPD officer, abandoned the SUV. House entered the SUV and removed a package he believed contained cocaine and transferred the package to a blue Nissan Altima allegedly driven by Banks. Leaving the silver pickup to other co-defendants, Nutt entered the passenger seat of the blue Nissan Altima and left the parking lot in the vehicle with the package. As the Nissan Altima left the parking lot it was stopped by HPD officers. The package, which actually contained fake cocaine, was found and removed from under the passenger seat where Nutt sat. Nutt and his co-defendants were arrested by law enforcement officers and subsequently charged federally.
Scott has been in custody since his arrest, where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Nutt, House, Banks and Bell all also pleaded guilty to the charges and are pending sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Affairs and Narcotics Divisions of the Houston Police Department with the assistance of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James McAlister.