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Feds charge ex-sheriff



CORBIN, Ky.

Aformersheriffinsoutheastern Kentucky took money from drug dealers, pocketed money from his office and falsified records, according to a federal affi davit.

The affidavit from an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives established probable cause for a November search of former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge’s office, storage annex, home and vehicle, The Times-Tribune of Corbin reported.

In one instance, the document says, a drug dealer told a federal agent that he paid then-Sheriff Hodge $1,000 to $1,500 a month to avoid investigation by the sheriff ’s office.

The affidavit said Hodge routinely cashed checks from his department’s drug and alcohol fund before weekends, holidays, out-of-town trips and his wife’s birthday.

A message left Tuesday for Hodge’s attorney, Gary Crabtree, was not immediately returned.

An employee questioned by federal agents said Hodge used the drug fund to pay informants and make drug buys. But the ex-sheriff ’s chief deputy, Timmy Shelley, told agents that he had never participated in a drug buy using informants since joining the force in 2003.

Another worker told federal agents that the department’s financial records were often short and “she would have to falsify paperwork in order to balance” the accounts.

Hodge was indicted in state court on charges of stealing $350,000 from his office, and has pleaded not guilty. He has not been charged in federal court, the Lexington Herald- Leader reports. The affidavit became available last week in federal court.

Hodge served two terms as sheriff. He lost a re-election bid in the May primary and left office at the end of last year.



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