Ohio sheriff pleads not guilty to drug, theft charges

AP News
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Posted: Aug 24, 2016 3:16 PM

FREMONT, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio sheriff who is up for re-election this fall pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he stole medications from prescription drug disposal drop boxes, deceived doctors into giving him painkillers and misused department funds.

A grand jury indicted Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer on six felony charges in a 43-count indictment released Tuesday night.

Overmyer, 42, wore handcuffs and an orange jail uniform when deputies led him into court for his arraignment.

A judge set his bond at $150,000, ordered him to turn over his county property and told Overmyer not to contact anyone from the sheriff's office. A special prosecutor said she would begin the process of having him suspended from his job.

One of his attorneys, Andrew Mayle, said Overmyer is not guilty, but would not comment further.

Overmyer easily won the county's Republican primary for sheriff in March even though it was known then that he was under investigation. He said before the primary that the investigation was politically motivated.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation began investigating the two-term sheriff nearly a year ago. The probe started after police chiefs in the county said it was odd that Overmyer had been collecting prescription pills from drop boxes, several media outlets reported.

Overmyer told The News-Messenger in Fremont in January that he collected the pills to promote better communication between area law enforcement agencies. He also said that he had done nothing wrong and that he passed a drug test conducted by state investigators.

According to the indictment, he deceived physicians and pharmacists to obtain prescription pain medication, including Percocet, hydrocodone and oxycodone. He's also accused of misusing department money and tampering with records. The theft-in-office charges cover a period from 2009-2016, the indictment shows.

Overmyer is up for re-election this fall after easily winning the county's Republican primary for sheriff in March, even though it was known then that he was under investigation. He said before the primary that the investigation was politically motivated.

Overmyer was 34 when he was appointed sheriff in Sandusky County, which is about 40 miles southwest of Toledo, after the death of the former sheriff.