The sheriff of Webster County, Mississippi, was arrested on a dozen felony charges Wednesday, and stands accused of shocking allegations that could land him as many as 152 years in prison.
What are the details?
Timothy Seth Mitchell, 53, was arrested at his home in Eupora. He was charged with two counts of embezzlement, two counts of trafficking in stolen firearms, one count of attempting sex with an inmate, one count of tampering with physical evidence, three counts of retaliation against a witness, one count of permitting possession and/or sale of a controlled substance in jail and two counts of furnishing an inmate with weapons, cellphone, and narcotics, according to a joint news release from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
PRESS RELEASE: WEBSTER COUNTY SHERIFF ARRESTED pic.twitter.com/h2BA8A8GZr
— MSMBI (@MDPSMBI) December 19, 2018
The Associated Press reported that a sworn statement accused Sheriff Mitchell of first breaking the law by illegally buying pills from an informant in November 2017. But as the probe continued, it was uncovered that Mitchell allegedly stole guns and drugs, ordered a deputy to remove four firearms from evidence (giving at least some of them to an employee and an inmate), and also provided the same inmate with illegal drugs and a cellphone. He is further accused of trying to have sex with two women in his jail.
To top it all off, Mitchell allegedly threatened multiple employees — including his then-Chief Deputy Jeffrey Mann — warning them not to tell anyone about his actions.
Mann resigned on Oct. 31, telling county supervisors in a letter.
"After witnessing the illegal activities Sheriff Tim Mitchell has taken part (in), I cannot be part of this organization," Mann said, according to WTVA-TV.
A report from the Starkville Daily News said that multiple agencies were involved in the investigation and arrest of the sheriff, including the Mississippi Attorney General's Office and Mississippi State Auditor's Office.
Mitchell is being held in the Lafayette County jail pending his initial court appearance.
At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was serving his second term as the county sheriff. A few weeks ago, he told WTVA that he would be retiring Jan. 2, 2019, for "health reasons."