Catoosa Police Officer, City Court Clerk Arrested On Federal Drug Charges
By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
CATOOSA, OK -- Suspected drug dealing has effectively cleaned out staff at Catoosa's city hall. Seven arrest warrants were issued Thursday following a five-month long drug investigation.
Two of the people arrested work for Catoosa's city government, including the assistant police chief.
Nobody likes to hear about possible corrupt cops. My sources tell me what really makes them mad about this case is a high ranking police officer using drugs in his uniform and using his job to obtain even more drugs.
Authorities plan to arrest more people before it's over, including a former Catoosa police officer.
Catoosa Assistant Police Chief Paul Whitmire, who's been on paid suspension after the investigation began, arrived at the police station after receiving a phone call informing him he'd been indicted for obtaining prescription painkillers illegally and U.S. Marshals were waiting for him.
City court clerk Phyliss Matthews was the next to leave in handcuffs, she had been indicted by a federal grand jury for distributing painkillers.
Matthews cried while the two were arraigned in federal court a short time later. Both pled not guilty and were released on a $5,000 bond each.
"Yes, it hurts, as sheriff Walton says, gives law enforcement a black eye. It comes to a lot of communities. We really have a problem with drugs in our society, yes it hurts," said Chief Raymond Rogers, Catoosa Police.
Investigators believe Whitmire is addicted to Hydrocodone and used his position at the police department to obtain as many pills as he could get his hands on, even approaching a local doctor.
Three other people were also arrested, Jessica May and Art Spencer were booked into the Rogers County jail, the third was arrested in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Federal affidavits show former Catoosa police officer, John Mines, who was suspended because of the investigation, then resigned, turned into a police informant and made undercover drug buys from the three of marijuana and cocaine.
The Drug Task Force, Claremore Police Department and the Rogers County Sheriff's Office were the lead agencies on the case.
They say it's never fun to investigate people in your own profession.
"As sad as it is, as sickening to see one from our profession fall in this fashion, the positive note is we made a great effort to clean up dirty law enforcement," Sheriff Scott Walton said.
Catoosa's mayor says the city council just passed a drug and alcohol policy last month that allows them to randomly drug test city employees in hopes of preventing this type of thing in the future.
She says no services or protection were compromised.