OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Wagoner County sheriff and one of his deputies were indicted Thursday on three felony counts by a grand jury on accusations that they took a bribe in exchange for not pursuing a drug charge.
Sheriff Robert Steven Colbert, 60, and Deputy Jeffrey Gragg, 48, are accused of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. The multicounty grand jury also recommended that Colbert be removed from office for willful neglect of duty and failure to produce and account for public funds. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
A sheriff’s office employee said neither Colbert nor Gragg were at work Thursday and they did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately clear if they are represented by an attorney.
The indictment alleges Gragg initiated a traffic stop in the northeastern Oklahoma county on Dec. 13, 2014, in which a vehicle containing two people was pulled over. While searching the vehicle, Gragg found $10,000 in cash wrapped in rubber bands, an open bottle of liquor and several other items, according to the indictment.
Gragg contacted Colbert and told him he had recovered the cash, prompting Colbert to travel to the scene, it says. Each of the vehicle’s occupants was arrested for possession of drug proceeds after they claimed the money belonged to them.
They were taken to the Wagoner County Jail, where the indictment alleges Colbert and Gragg accepted a bribe after the two men disavowed any interest in the $10,000. They were then released and their booking records were deleted “without a court order or either person posting bond, and as a direct result of their willingness to forgo the $10,000,” the indictment alleges.
It says Gragg opened a sheriff’s office drug forfeiture account with the Wagoner County Treasurer’s Office two days later and deposited the $10,000.
One of the car’s occupants testified before the multicounty grand jury in December, almost a year after the traffic stop, the indictment said. Two days later, Gragg delivered a forfeiture affidavit for the money that was seized from the two men to the Wagoner County District Attorney’s Office.
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