Former Booneville police officer pleads guilty to federal charges

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Sep. 23—TUPELO — A former Booneville police officer pleaded guilty this week in federal court to four misdemeanors and one felony.

By accepting a plea agreement, Dustin Rambo avoided the most serious allegation, the sexual battery of a woman in his custody. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop the sex charge and replace it with lying to a federal agent.

He could face up to nine years in prison when sentenced.

The new charge carries up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The original charge listed in the indictment carried up to 10 years in prison.

The plea agreement also means Rambo won't have to register as a sex offender. The four misdemeanors all carry sentenced of up to one year in prison and up to A $100,000 fine.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 19, 2022, in U.S. District Court in Greenville by Chief Judge Debra Brown.

Rambo, a 2006 graduate of Itawamba AHS who turned 34 last week, was fired by the Booneville Police Department in January when it came to light that during a nine-month span, he stole money from four individuals and allegedly sexually assaulted a woman, all while on duty and in uniform. He was arrested in March and has been free on a $5,000 unsecured bond ever since.

He was accused of taking personal possession of cash, a debit card, prescription narcotics and other personal items from people he either arrested or assisted in their arrest. Those four incidents occurred between May 2020 and January 2021. The sexual assault reportedly occurred in August 2020.

In late May, Rambo pleaded not guilty to all five charges. The trial, which was postponed at least twice, was set to start in early October.

On Sept. 22, Rambo agreed to plead guilty to the four misdemeanor theft charges and to the new felony charge. The new Count 5 says Rambo intentionally lied to a FBI special agent while being questioned about the four misdemeanors.

After he is sentenced early next year, the government will dismiss the sexual assault charge.

Following his arrest this spring, it came to light that Rambo had been accused of stealing from people before.

After graduating from the police academy in 2012, he worked for the Mississippi Department of Transportation law enforcement division for 18 months in 2012 and 2013. He later admitted that during that time, he pocketed money that was collected for fees, taxes and permits. He was allowed to resign from his position before he was fired.

william.moore@djournal.com

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