- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio trooper sold illegal drugs, provided an accomplice with a bulletproof vest and lied to police to protect the accomplice, according to federal charges filed this week.

State Highway Patrol trooper Jason Delcol was charged with distributing controlled substances, distributing human growth hormone and witness tampering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus said Tuesday.

Delcol, 43, was one of six men charged in the drug trafficking scheme around the city of Delaware in central Ohio.

The patrol fired Delcol for conduct unbecoming of an officer on Tuesday, less than three hours after the government announced the charges.

“Public trust is our No. 1 priority and individuals like Delcol compromise that trust,” said patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers.

Delcol is in custody and court records do not list an attorney for him. His 2017 review showed him meeting expectations.

Delcol “can be counted on to make good decisions and always considers downstream consequences,” the review said.

It is the third time Delcol has been fired since 2012. The patrol terminated him that year and in 2014 over allegations he violated the agency’s policies for reporting use of controlled substances like painkillers. Arbitrators twice ruled to reinstate him.

A criminal complaint announced on Tuesday said Delcol received and supplied drugs from at least two men, and at least twice visited a conspirator’s house in uniform and driving a marked cruiser.

Investigators tracked hundreds of text messages that included conversations about human growth hormone, testosterone, Xanax, cocaine and crack cocaine, marijuana and the painkillers oxycodone and Percocet, according to Ben Glassman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus.

“U just got lucky I saw my buddy last night. And he has those pink things in 20s,” Delcol said in a July text message to a co-defendant, referring to the painkiller oxycodone, according to the federal complaint.

Delcol provided a co-defendant with ballistic vests for protection, and lied to police who found the co-defendant with cocaine during an August traffic stop, blaming the drugs on the co-defendant’s “children who were problems,” the complaint said.

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