Grand Jury Indicts Wagoner County Sheriff; Seeks Removal From Office
WAGONER COUNTY, Oklahoma - A grand jury is seeking the removal of the Wagoner County sheriff and a deputy on bribery and extortion charges.
According to Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the Fifteenth Multicounty Grand Jury issued the accusation of removal based on counts of extortion, willful neglect of duty and failure to produce and account for all public funds.
The accusation also requests the District Court to order the immediate suspension of Sheriff Bob Colbert from his duties as sheriff, pending trial.
Colbert and Deputy Jeffrey Gragg are alleged to have conspired together to bribe two individuals, taking $10,000 in exchange for not pursuing drug charges.
According to a news release, Gragg performed a traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Torrell Wallace and a 17-year-old passenger. During the stop, the release says Gragg searched the vehicle and found $10,000.
Wallace and the passenger said the cash belonged to them. The release says they were arrested for possession of drug proceeds. They were taken to the jail where, according to the release, Colbert and Gragg accepted a bribe and released Wallace and the 17-year-old and their records were deleted.
The release says the cash was placed in the Sheriff’s Drug Forfeiture account.
Colbert and Gragg face three charges – conspiracy to receive a bribe, receiving a bribe and extortion induced by threats.
In a statement, Colbert's attorney said:
“The underlying accusation involves a routine drug interdiction (lawful cash seizure of drug funds) by the sheriff’s department. The funds are not missing and are accounted for. The Sheriff’s Office timely deposited every cent of this money in the county’s treasurer account as required by state law. This money was earmarked for fighting drug trafficking to help protect the citizens.
“The basis for this interdiction as reported includes the accusation of deleted records. That accusation cannot be supported at trial. We are looking forward to being released from the gag order such that we can release the counter-evidence exonerating Sheriff Colbert.
“We note that there is pending legislation in the Senate hoping to drastically change drug interdiction laws. Their accusations remain politically motivated.
"We are so sad for the Sheriff, Gary James, my husband Clint Hastings and I will all continue to fight to clear his name.”