Deputies arrested a county employee Wednesday morning when the man tried to extort cash from a Mesa business owner who owed a fine, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
The 40-year-old suspect, Darrell Dotson, has worked for the county's Department of Air Quality for about two years. Arpaio said Dotson contacted Extreme Construction last week and offered to erase an alleged air quality violation if the business owner paid 20 percent of the fine directly to Dotson.
Instead, the business owner contacted the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and reported the alleged extortion. Sheriff's deputies directed the business owner to call Dotson on Tuesday and arrange a meeting to hand over the cash.
The business owner met Dotson on Wednesday and attempted to hand him $2,000. Arpaio said Dotson told the business owner to put the money in a white envelope.
Deputies then arrested Dotson after the exchange, Arpaio said.
"He seems to say it's his first time," Arpaio said.
Extreme Construction is located at 10250 E. Main St. in Mesa.