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“Unfounded” allegations against a Greene County deputy of planted evidence, false arrests revealed in August, 2017 letter recently posted on Facebook
PARAGOULD, Ark. – A set of serious allegations against a Greene County law enforcement officer came to public view through social media this week but the prosecutor says the investigation he called for in the letter found no wrong-doing.
A letter dated August 29, 2017 and posted on Facebook Tuesday revealed serious allegations against a member of Greene County Sheriff’s Department. On Tuesday night, NEA Report asked Second Judicial District Prosecutor Scott Ellington if the letter was legitimate. He said it was.
“I recall dictating that letter and sending it to the State Police,” Ellington said.
In the letter, Ellington writes to Major Mark Hollingsworth requesting an investigation into allegations that Sgt. Tommy Huffstetler was “arresting people for possession of a controlled substance when he knew the individual was not guilty of the charge for which they were arrested.”
One such example, the letter details, included an informant buying drugs and placing them in his vehicle on the passenger side. The letter says the informant told Huffstetler he would place the drugs and have a light out on the rear of his vehicle to justify a traffic stop. A third person, the innocent victim, was removed from the vehicle and arrested for the drugs which were planted by the informant.
“The allegations are that Huffstetler knew the drugs did not belong to the person he arrested, yet he took that person to jail anyway,” Ellington’s 2017 letter says.
Tuesday night, Ellington told a reporter the charges were withdrawn when the facts were learned to be different than what he first heard. The prosecutor said state police determined the informant to be at fault in the example provided by Ellington in the letter.
“An informant who was trying to score points with Huffstetler apparently purchased the contraband and placed it in the passenger side of his vehicle, where he knew another person would soon be riding,” Ellington said. “He had informed Huffstetler he thought who would be riding with him later that evening might be carrying narcotics. Huffstetler made a traffic stop and located the narcotics in the passenger door near the unsuspecting third person resulting in the arrest of the third person. Criminal charges were withdrawn once we learned of this illegal activity.”
In his letter, Ellington added this was “one of several incidents involving this officer,” from what he understood then. Tuesday night, Ellington didn’t recall what the other unspecified issues were.
“I don’t recall what those other issues are,” Ellington said. “It’s been a year and I can’t tell you if he’s still with the department or not. I know that we have several cases that we either did not pursue or we took into consideration his involvement before any resolution of those cases.”
The Greene County Sheriff’s Office website indicated Sgt. Huffstetler is still an active member of their department. We later confirmed he had left the department.