03/06/2006

Texas chief, sergeant arrested; small-town department shut down

The Associated Press

TROUP, Texas- The police chief and a sergeant in this eastern Texas town were arrested on drug and evidence tampering charges and the department shut down.

Police Chief Chester Kennedy was charged Friday with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. He was released from jail on a $400,000 bond.

Sgt. Mark Turner, last year's chamber of commerce Officer of the Year, was booked into Smith County Jail late Thursday on a misdemeanor delivery of marijuana charge and a third-degree felony charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Turner was being held on bonds totaling $500,000.

The department's equipment was seized by officers from other law-enforcement agencies.

Lt. Larry Wiginton of the Smith County Sheriff's Department told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that the arrests followed an eight-week investigation by the FBI, sheriff and the Smith County district attorney after Turner allegedly delivered marijuana.

The police department's three other officers were placed on paid leave.

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