Former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy lands state job

John Dowdy
John Dowdy

Longtime federal prosecutor John Dowdy, who resigned in May as an assistant U.S. attorney, has been appointed director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

The office of Gov. Phil Bryant announced the appointment in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

“John’s decades of experience as a prosecutor make him a perfect fit to lead MBN,” Bryant said in the news release. “As a former law enforcement officer, I have made it a priority to rid our communities of the drug trade. John shares that commitment. I am delighted he has accepted this appointment.”

Dowdy starts work Nov. 1, replacing Sam Owens, who is retiring.

Dowdy’s career at the U.S. Attorney’s Office started before he graduated from Mississippi College School of Law in 1990, when he went to work as an intern under former U.S. Attorney George Phillips, now deceased.

Early on, Dowdy helped with investigations of state public service commissioners convicted of bribery, and the murder conspiracy that led to the shooting deaths in 1987 of former Circuit Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife, former Biloxi Councilwoman Margaret Sherry.

Dowdy headed the U.S. attorney’s criminal division beginning in 2004, then served as court-appointed U.S. attorney from January 2011 until President Barack Obama’s pick for the job, Gregory Davis, started work in April 2012. Dowdy then returned to his job as head of the criminal division.

As head of the criminal division, he oversaw the public corruption case that netted Bill Walker, former director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and several associates.

Dowdy then returned to full-time prosecution of cases as an assistant U.S. attorney. He resigned while serving as lead prosecutor in a massive BP fraud case. The lead defendant, San Antonio attorney Mikal Watts, and others were recently acquitted in the case, which other attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office handled.

In Wednesday’s news release, Dowdy is quoted as saying: “It is an honor to serve the people of Mississippi as the director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. As director, my priority will be to ensure that drug dealers are arrested, convicted and sent to prison in an effort to make our streets and communities safer for our citizens and children.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99