MARCH 20, 2006
After a lengthy federal investigation, the Troup Texas police department was shut down because the chief and several officers ran a lucrative business using the illegal drugs confiscated from criminals. Some officers even made marijuana home deliveries.
The police chief, Chester Kennedy, who led the tiny department for 14 years, was charged with evidence tampering and a sergeant, Mark Turner, was charged with fabricating evidence and delivering drugs to an undercover federal agent, assuring him later that there was more available from a police evidence box.
Ironically, one of the officers charged in the ongoing corruption case was named Troup’s Chamber of Commerce officer of the year in 2005. The officer, Mark Turner, is accused of felony tampering and fabricating evidence as well as delivery of marijuana.
The county sheriff’s department and the FBI launched an investigation after the sheriff received complaints from both inside and outside the department that Troup police had not sent any drug evidence to be tested in five years. They zeroed in on four cases where people were arrested, but the drugs disappeared, including an eight-ball of methamphetamine, several plants, and a gallon bag filled with weed.
The town’s mayor, John Whitsell, denied turning a blind eye and said talk of wrongdoing was just a rumor and all small towns have rumors. Troup is indeed a tiny city in the rolling hills of East Texas with a population of about 2,000. It’s logo is “The Good Neighbor Town.“
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