Moody Air Force Base in Lowndes County is home to some of the nation's latest military equipment, including the best bullet-proof vests available.
Recently, the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office arrested three airmen and five other civilians, accusing them of stealing and selling the vests.
Ashley Paulk, Lowndes County Sheriff, says, "It really turned out to be a real good operation for us. We recovered a majority of the vests, as far as we know. There's also some silver linings. At one arrest site we recovered over 12 pounds of marijuana, 150 ecstasy pills and some crack cocaine."
Sheriff's investigators say Airman Brian Aubray Skelton is still in the Lowndes County Jail Tuesday afternoon, facing state charges.
Airmen Todd Louis Boutte and Jared Wayne Roberts are now in Air Force custody and could face federal charges.
The sheriff says if sheriff’s vests had not been found and removed from the streets, it would have meant big trouble for local officers and deputies when trying to apprehend wanted suspects.
Paulk says, "If you get into a shooting situation, your first shot is most important, and if it's stopped by a vest, the situation is going downhill from there."
While many of the vests have been recovered, authorities are still searching for Kapreal Griffin. They say Griffin may be trying to sell off the remaining vests.
Investigators say the two airmen facing federal charges could get up to 30 years behind bars if convicted on all counts. Base officials say they have to wait until the legal process is over before commenting.
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