A former Metro narcotics detective pled guilty for stealing thousands of dollars from crime scenes in federal court Tuesday.

James Dunaway, 43, of Old Hickory, was a supervisor with the Metro Nashville Police Department's Specialized Investigation Division-Narcotics Unit until last November when he resigned from his post after 16 years on the job.

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Dunaway was caught pocketing cash after the department conducted a sting operation at a local motel on Nov. 15, 2017.

The sting operation happened after a secret investigation was conducted in Sept. 2017 after another officer reportedly saw Dunaway take some cash at a crime scene and put it in his pocket.

During the sting, MNPD Office of Professional Accountability placed marijuana, $28,000 in cash and video cameras in a hotel room in order to conduct an accountability. Dunaway allegedly stole $5,860 while executing that search warrant.

In the indictment, Dunaway admitted to pocketing cash while executing search warrants on five different occasions between Nov. 18, 2015, and Nov. 16, 2017, including:

A residence on Pleasant Hill Road where more than $100,000 was seized on Nov. 18, 2015 a residence on Roberston Road where more than $500,000 was seized on April 10, 2018 A residence on Pleasant Hill Road where more than $182,000 was seized on April 26, 2017 A residence on Spencer Enclave Way where more than $70,000 was seized on Sept. 13, 2017 The hotel room where MNPD planted cash and other items on Nov. 15, 2017
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Dunaway also admitted to embezzling, stealing and converting approximately $109,910 for his personal use.

He confessed to making multiple cash deposits between April 11, 2017, and May 8, 2018, totaling approximately $40,540. He also said he obtained a $42,500 cashier's check on May 1, 2017, that he used to purchase a 2014 Toyota Sequoia.

Dunaway accepted a plea agreement that called for immediate forfeiture of the Toyota Sequoia. When he is sentenced on Oct. 24, he also faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

MNPD Police Chief Steve Anderson said there was no indication any other detectives were involved in the criminal activity.

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