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Former Costilla County Sheriff Officer arrested on federal kidnapping charges, impersonating a U.S. Marshal

FORT GARLAND, Colo. (KRDO) -- 34-year-old Jerry Banks, of Fort Garland, has been arrested on federal kidnapping charges. 13 Investigates has confirmed that Banks was a Detention Officer with the Costilla County Sheriff's Office in 2017. The kidnapping charges are tied to the murder-for-hire of Gregory Davis of Vermont in January, 2018.

Federal prosecutors allege that Banks was hired by multiple men to kidnap and kill Davis. Those men, Serhat Gumrukcu and Berk Eratay, allegedly had oil business dealings with Davis. They believe Davis was killed because he claimed the men were defrauding him of thousands of dollars.

On January 7th, 2018, Davis was found around 15 miles from his Danville, Vermont home. When detectives spoke with Davis' wife they learned that a man, dressed as a U.S. Marshal, arrived at their home the night prior and told Davis he had a warrant for his arrest. Davis left with the man and was found shot and killed the next day.

Detectives tracked Banks' whereabouts in the days prior to Davis' death through multiple phone purchases. Banks used one phone to call 911 the night Davis was allegedly kidnapped from his home.

That phone was purchased by Banks on January 5th at a Walmart in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, prosecutors said. Another phone, according to prosecutors, was purchased in November, 2017, in Oak Grove, Missouri. The phone was then pinged in Monte Vista, Colorado, in late December.

Then, it was tracked through cell towers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Vermont from January 3rd to January 5th before pinging in Danville, Vermont on January 6th.

The alleged 911 call was from in and around the Davis' home around 15 minutes before Banks arrived. Prosecutors say the reporting party told 911 operators that he "shot his wife and was going to shoot himself." Detectives allege that it was Banks who made the phone call to help facilitate "the victim's kidnapping and murder."

On January 8th, federal prosecutors say Banks was stopped by police officers along a highway west of Alma, Kansas. Police say Banks was driving a white Ford Explorer with multiple items inside including a gun, tactical vest and law enforcement equipment with a mattress located in the back of the vehicle.

Detectives were able to track a $4,500 purchase for the Ford Explorer, an Amazon purchase of a public safety scanner, and a Paypal purchase for an antique gold U.S. Marshal badge, shoulder patch and embroidery patch all tracked back to Banks.

Then in December, 2017, they tracked purchases of a police spotlight, handcuffs, and automotive parts that could be used to make a silencer, back to an email address belonging to Banks. Banks also purchased two body army jackets, according to arrest documents.

Prosecutors say Banks, "unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, and carried away for reward Gregory Davis, when Banks traveled in interstate commerce and used a facility or instrumentality of interstate commerce in committing and in furtherance of the commission of the offense."

Prosecutors have not charged Banks with murder, but they have stated in a press release the following, "the complaint affidavit contains allegations that Banks murdered Davis."

Banks has pleaded not guilty to the allegations. He is being held in Vermont, and it has been ordered that Banks be prosecuted in Vermont as well.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Sean Rice

Sean is reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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