Magazine article Corrections Forum

Indictment: Crooked Deputies Sold Guns, Drugs to Public

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Indictment: Crooked Deputies Sold Guns, Drugs to Public

Article excerpt

A Virginia sheriff covered up a scheme in which a dozen of his deputies sold seized guns and drugs to the public, a federal indictment alleges, as posted on CNN.com November 2, 2006. The indictment names Henry County Sheriff Harold Franklin Cassell, known locally as "Frank," and 19 others.

All but two of those indicted were taken into custody, the Drug Enforcement Administration said. The charges include racketeering conspiracy, weapons offenses, narcotics distribution, obstruction of justice and perjury.

"It is disgraceful corruption," said U.S. Attorney John L. Brownlee. "These were drugs and guns that were seized as part of their law enforcement duties that were then stolen from the property room and put back out on the streets."

Brownlee added, "You have law enforcement [officers] risking their lives to take these guns off the streets and then a very few members of law enforcement putting them right back out there." He acknowledged that the arrests would affect the department's ability to carry on day-today operations. Virginia state police are being sent to ensure safety.

Among the schemes alleged in the indictment:

* The theft of drugs and firearms in the custody of the sheriffs department

* Distribution of cocaine, marijuana and a date rape drug

* Money laundering

* Obstruction of justice

The DEA said 13 of those charged are either current or former sheriff's office employees in Henry County, part of southern Virginia's Piedmont region. …

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