A former narcotics agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation faces federal charges of transporting marijuana from California to Charlotte and laundering proceeds of drug trafficking, according to court documents.
Fredrick Tucker of Lead, S.D., is charged with drug trafficking conspiracy involving at least 50 kilos of marijuana. Tucker also is charged with money laundering.
Earlier this month, Tucker waived detention at a hearing before a federal magistrate judge and is being held without bond under federal custody in the Mecklenburg County jail.
His attorney, Mark Patrick Foster Jr. of Charlotte, said Tucker’s next court appearance will be in March.
Also charged with drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering is Tucker’s son, Ryan Tucker. The charges involve at least 5 kilos or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilos or more of marijuana, according to court documents. Jamie Erwin Jackson was charged with money laundering in the same case.
In 2008, Ryan Tucker shot and killed an intruder at his south Charlotte residence. At the time, police said armed robbers wearing masks tried to steal from two people authorities said were drugs dealers. Ryan Tucker and Sean Nicholls Tobin were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a vehicle for the use or storage of a controlled substance. In 2011, the charges against Tucker and Tobin were dismissed.
Frederick Tucker was a North Carolina SBI narcotics agent who left the agency “while under investigation for improprieties,” according to court documents.
A confidential source told federal agents that Tucker had admitted he’d made more than two dozen deliveries of marijuana from California to Charlotte with his son through 2012, documents said. The deliveries totaled more than 1,000 kilograms.
The source described having seen a secret vault accessible through a hidden door in the garage of Tucker’s South Dakota residence and that Tucker had numerous firearms, court documents said.
Tucker received and shipped illegal drugs in wooden crates designed to avoid detection from K-9 narcotics detection dogs, court documents said.
Tucker apparently bought the marijuana in California, drove to North Dakota and repackaged it in the special wooden crates, then took the marijuana to North Carolina, court documents said.
On Nov. 24, officers with a federal search warrant searched Tucker’s residence in South Dakota and found ledgers that appeared to document drug-related transactions along with a vault consistent with the one described by the informant, court records said.
Four days later, officers learned Tucker had bought an airline ticket to Brazil and later changed it to Panama, according to court documents.
A review of Tucker’s bank accounts “indicates he has no history over the past four years of expenses, and thus travel, outside the continental United States,” the documents stated. “The unusual timing of his international travel further supports the belief that he is intending to flee prosecution.”
From 2011 to 2014, documents stated that Tucker and other co-conspirators received more than $1.7 million in cash deposits, even though their tax records indicate minimal income. More than $450,000 of the cash deposits and transfers were made in Tucker’s account from January 2011 through May 2014.
Tucker’s reported income “is almost all from Social Security payments and North Carolina State pension payments, which cannot be justified by any of the aforementioned cash deposits,” the documents said.
During the investigation, according to documents, the money and property seized included a 2011 Mercedes, a 2008 BMW X5, about $217,000 in U.S. currency, real property on North Laurel Avenue in Charlotte, and real property in Lead and Hill City, S.D.
Researcher Maria David contributed to this story.