Officer accused of giving convicted
Shannon Tangonan, The Courier-Journal
(JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ky. ) -- A Jefferson County police officer was behind bars yesterday, charged with giving a convicted drug trafficker at least one handgun ''for the purpose of a narcotics transfer,'' Chief William Carcara said yesterday.
Officer Bobby Lee Newton Jr., 32, of Old Shepherdsville Road, was charged about 12:30 p.m. yesterday with two counts of complicity to supply a convicted felon with a handgun and one count of first-degree complicity to traffic in a controlled substance (cocaine) involving a gun. He was taken to the county jail, and he is expected to be arraigned today.
Newton, who has been on the force 3 1/2 years, was arrested on Fern Valley Road between Preston Highway and Interstate 65, Carcara said. But that is not where the offense allegedly occurred, and police would not say where it took place.
''This is an unfortunate situation that has sickened all of us,'' Carcara said during a news conference.
Newton is accused of giving a gun to a convicted drug trafficker while off duty, Carcara said. That felon's name and his whereabouts were not released yesterday.
Few details of what transpired were being disclosed because of a criminal investigation that is still under way, Carcara said. An internal investigation is expected to begin Monday.
Newton, who is a patrol officer in the southeastern part of the county, was suspended and placed on paid administrative leave. He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all three charges.
The officer had not shown any signs of trouble, Carcara said after the news conference. ''He never asked for help; there were no performance problems. He was a model employee,'' the chief said.
Newton was not tested for drug use because there was no probable cause to link him to narcotics, Carcara said after the news conference.
The chief said he was shocked by the arrest. ''I told him . . . when I suspended him that if anybody would have predicted I would be doing this, I would have called him a liar,'' Carcara said.
The department learned of the allegations Monday night and the special investigation unit started its probe right away, Carcara said. On Wednesday, the commonwealth's attorney's office was notified.
What troubles Carcara the most, he said, is that the gun could have been used ''to harm another police officer or another citizen.''
''That to me is incomprehensible.'' GRAPHIC: Jefferson County police Officer Bobby Lee Newton Jr. is accused of giving a gun to a convicted drug trafficker while off duty. He is expected to be arraigned today.
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