Nassau County

‘Beyond angry:’ Nassau sheriff addresses former deputy’s arrest on federal drug charge

A now-former Nassau County Sheriff’s Office sergeant is now facing a federal drug charge, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

James Darrell Hickox, 37, of Callahan, is facing a charge of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, the release detailed.


The criminal complaint against Hickox alleges that he intended to distribute “cocaine, MDMA, and 40 grams or more of fentanyl.”

Hickox was with NCSO for 17 years and served as a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force Officer from March 2014 through September 2022.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Hickox was arrested by the FBI on Friday, which is also when his employment with NCSO was terminated.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said in a statement he was “disgusted” when he heard about the allegations against Hickox. Here is Leeper’s statement in full:

“I believe we must make sure law enforcement officers who break the law are held accountable. I was shocked, disappointed, disgusted and beyond angry when I heard the allegations against Sergeant Hickox. He has let down his co-workers, our community, thrown away his career, as well as embarrassed his family. I am firmly committed to holding our employees to the highest ethical standards. Although law enforcement officers are human and humans make mistakes, his actions are unforgivable. We will do whatever it takes to ensure we are holding ourselves accountable. That means we will be looking at our policies and procedures to review anything that could be changed to prevent anything like this from happening again. I want to thank the FBI for their investigation into these crimes while Sergeant Hickox was assigned as a Task Force Officer for DEA in Jacksonville. Our profession relies heavily on trust and I will never tolerate this type of conduct at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office. His poor judgement and criminal behavior should not reflect negatively on all the good men and women at NCSO who go out every day and do it the right way to keep our citizens safe.”

NCSO provided the following information on Hickox’s career with the agency:

  • Started his career with NCSO January 5, 2006 as a Detention Deputy.
  • Transferred to the Patrol Division in 2006 and served as a School Resource Officer and then as a patrol deputy.
  • Transferred into the Narcotics Unit on October 6, 2011.
  • In March 2014 was assigned to the DEA Jacksonville District Office as a Federal Task Force Officer.
  • Received an award for being the DEA Co-Investigator of the Year for 2019.
  • Promoted to Patrol Sergeant in June 2022, transferred to Sergeant over Civil/Warrant Division on July 18, 2022.
  • Terminated employment and arrested by the FBI on March 10, 2023
  • No discipline on file

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

This case is being investigated by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with assistance from United States Customs and Border Protection. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William Hamilton.

If convicted, Hickox faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years, up to 40 years, in federal prison.

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article