District Attorney Craig Ladd said he is asking Attorney General Scott Pruitt to assign another prosecutor's office to review the case involving the misappropriation of funds from the Love County Sheriff's Department.
"My written request for the assignment of a different district attorney was mailed to the Attorney General this afternoon (Thursday), Ladd said.
The district attorney said he made the request after reviewing an investigative report on the alleged incident submitted to his office last week by OSBI Agent David Seals.
"The report indicated that in late 2012 an employee of the Love County Sheriff's Office misappropriated a sum of cash which had been seized in the summer of 2012, during a traffic stop in Love County. The money was seized because of its suspected link to drug trafficking. Following the seizure of said money and prior to its misappropriation, the money was kept in a safe at the Love County Sheriff's Department," Ladd said.
The district attorney said he is asking the AG to reassign the case for three reasons.
"Myself and District 20 employee, Love County Assistant District Attorney Tim Burson, serve as legal advisors to the Love County Sheriff. Furthermore, both myself and Mr. Burson have worked closely with the suspect in this matter on various cases. In addition, the entities which would have been most affected by a misappropriation of the money in question is the Love County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Offices of District 20," Ladd said.
"Because of these reasons and in an effort to avoid the appearance of any impropriety in regards to filing decisions or the manner in which the case will be prosecuted, I requested the Attorney General to assign a different district attorney to review this matter and then take the appropriate action."
Although rumors have circulated in Love County for weeks over the identity of the suspect, Ladd did not reveal the person's name and no charges have been formally filed against anyone at this time.
Love County Sheriff Joe Russell has refused to confirm if anyone on his staff has resigned or been placed on administrative leave in connection with the case.
"I am not going to comment until this is over," Russell told The Ardmoreite during an interview published in the Feb. 20th edition.