GBI declined Sheriff’s request to investigate, identify The GRIP’s confidential source

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The GRIP has confirmed that the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 30 requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) conduct a criminal investigation to identify a confidential source who has provided information to this publication.

Following the receipt of information from a confidential source, The GRIP has since Sept. 30 been conducting an investigation of a November 2012 Special Operations Unit narcotics investigation in which a GPS tracker was utilized. One piece of information received was a 112-page tracker report detailing its use from Nov. 8-13, 2012.

According to GBI Region 2 Field Office Special Agent In Charge Fred Wimberly, the request from the S.C.S.O. involved that specific report.

“The request was in reference to the leak at the Sheriff’s Office with regard to that GPS information, and the request was denied on Nov. 30, 2015,” said Special Agent In Charge Fred Wimberly, of the GBI Region 2 Office. “The request was made by (Capt.) Tony Ranieri (head of the Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigation Division). It was made by Tony. Now, whether he was directed by the Sheriff, I do not know. You’ll have to talk Tony, but sometimes that can happen where a request can be made by a CID investigator or the chief investigator via the sheriff and/or the police chief or whoever.”

When asked if the GBI considers such requests to have come from the agency head, Wimberly said yes.

“The agency head can delegate that responsibility to have an agent or investigator give us a call,” he said.

By law, the GBI may only investigate criminal cases. Wimberly explained the basis for his office denying the Sheriff’s Office’s request to conduct an investigation to identify The GRIP’s confidential source.

“We don’t see anything criminal about the information and how it got to the media,” he said.

In a separate interview, he elaborated upon the request and denial, both of which occurred the same day.

“The information with regards to the so-called GPS – we’re not involved in that investigation. We were asked to investigate that, but we’re not involved. We’re not going to investigate,” he said, later adding. “We don’t see anything at this point that’s criminal in nature…..The GPS information and whatever it is that’s going on with the GPS information and a confidential informant, we are not involved with that. We are not investigating it.”

There are currently two active GBI investigations involving the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office. The first pertains to David Gibson, the former captain of the S.O.’s Uniform Patrol Division, and was requested by Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney Scott Ballard.

The second investigation was requested by Beam Aug. 6 to determine if there is a “leak” in his office. Although the GBI declined to investigate and attempt to identify The GRIP’s confidential source, agents are continuing its previous investigation.

Capt. Tony Ranieri and Sheriff Wendell Beam did not respond to The GRIP’s attempts to seek comment for this article.

 

 

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Comments

  1. It might be time to consider security.

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