Ex-assistant chief's arrest angers police; ex-officer accused of making, selling meth
Bob Doucette, Staff Writer
(ADA, Okla.) -- At the police department, there is a sense of embarrassment and anger after its former assistant chief was charged Monday with manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine.
Dennis Corvin, 49, was arrested after being investigated by the Pontotoc County district attorney's office. He was charged with seven felony drug counts, including manufacturing and distributing a controlled dangerous substance within 2,000 feet of a school.
His girlfriend, Alice Harrell, 50, and co-defendants Charlie Clark and Johnny D. Flowers Jr., also were charged.
Police officers have been getting a lot of comments from the public about the case, Assistant Chief Rick Carson said. It's affected officers' morale.
"They're sad because it's making all of us look bad," Carson said.
Carson, a 27-year member of the Ada force who eventually replaced Corvin as assistant chief, said his predecessor's arrest shocked younger officers - but not their older colleagues.
"I just can't say I was surprised. I was sickened, but not surprised."
Carson wouldn't elaborate, saying he couldn't talk about ongoing personnel matters, but the investigation revealed drug problems dating back to July.
Investigators first learned of Corvin's alleged involvement during a routine drug investigation, Assistant District Attorney Chris Ross said.
After getting one member of the drug ring to cooperate with authorities, investigators were able to use a hidden wiretap to record conversations between the informant and Corvin, among others.
A court affidavit stated that Corvin and Clark had an agreement that allowed Clark to steal lithium batteries from Wal-Mart, where Corvin was security manager. Lithium strips in the batteries are used in making methamphetamine, Ross said.
Corvin told Clark where the security cameras were pointed and "to come in when he (Corvin) was working because Dennis Corvin was the only person there watching for shoplifters," the affidavit said.
The affidavit also quotes an informant, Larry Gore, as saying Corvin knew how to make the drug, participated in its manufacture and was a frequent user.
Corvin was arrested Friday when he arrived for work at Wal-Mart.
Corvin's 20-year police career in Ada was notable. In 1994, he and another officer shot and killed a woman who walked into the Ada police station with a gun. Both officers were cleared of wrongdoing.
Corvin worked his way up to assistant chief, and retired in 1999. He then took the security job.
Corvin wasn't investigated for drugs before, but there had suspicions about him, Carson said.
"You hear rumors about everybody. We heard some things (about Corvin), but nothing specific until the DA's task force came up with this."
Ross said other people are being investigated, but didn't know if any arrests were pending. No one else with ties to the police department is under suspicion, he said.
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