2nd Mountain City police officer charged in drug case

Becky Campbell • Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 8:29 PM

A second Mountain City police officer was arrested this week on drug charges, and a lieutenant arrested on federal charges earlier this week was indicted on state charges as well.

Sgt. Ken Lane, 61, was taken into custody Thursday, within hours of a Johnson County grand jury indicting him on charges of:

• Conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone;

• Solicitation to commit delivery of schedule II drugs (oxycodone); and

• Simple possession of schedule II drugs (methamphetamine).

Lt. Ron Shupe, 44, who was already being held without bond in the Washington County Detention Center on federal charges, was served with a presentment returned by the Johnson County grand jury that charged him with:

• Possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony;

• Possession of schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone;

• Conspiracy to possess schedule II drugs (oxycodone) with intent to deliver in a school zone;

• Solicitation to commit assault;

• Accessory after the fact;

• Release of confidential information;

• Casual exchange of schedule VI drugs (marijuana);

• Simple possession of schedule II drugs (methamphetamine);

• Theft of property over $1,000 (marijuana); and

• Three counts of official misconduct.

The charges against Lane apparently stemmed from information authorities obtained while investigating Shupe, according to federal court records. Investigators apparently discovered Shupe’s alleged drug activities while interviewing a woman jailed North Carolina on drug charges in June. She told Johnson County Sheriff’s Office investigators that Shupe provided her with methamphetamine several times and they did the drug together in his patrol car while Shupe was on duty.

After that initial interview, investigators obtained a transcript of Facebook messages between the woman and Shupe. The messages did not contain blatant admissions of drug use, but there were descriptions and terms used that led investigators to believe the two were discussing obtaining and using methamphetamine.

The investigation led officers to obtain text messages between another confidential informant and an account registered to Shupe. Those exchanges also led investigators to believe Shupe was buying narcotics, not just for himself but also for Lane.

In early August, District Attorney General Tony Clark asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to begin an investigation, as well. That investigation ran in conjunction with the federal probe.

Federal authorities set up a sting operation that went down Monday in which one of the confidential informants met with Shupe, gave the officer oxycodone and Shupe gave the informant money. After Shupe left the transaction, he was surrounded by agents from the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

According to the presentment filed Thursday in Johnson County, the transactions involving a school zone were near Johnson County High School. One official misconduct charge against Shupe stemmed from his allegedly soliciting a man to badly beat someone up or to do it in the city and “I will take care of it” and the unidentified person “will learn the hard way.”

Another official misconduct charge alleged that Shupe took marijuana from the Mountain City Police Department with the intent to distribute it to someone with whom he was involved in a drug conspiracy. The third official misconduct charge stemmed from Shupe allegedly disclosing information about a violation of probation warrant, which allowed the person to leave town undetected.

The release of confidential information involved Shupe allegedly telling someone in the public where another officer lived. Home addresses of police officers is confidential information protected by state law.

Federal court documents made public on Monday included detailed allegations, and Lane was implicated in those records. As of Thursday afternoon, there was no record that he had been charged in the federal case. During that investigation, which started in June, text messages from a cell phone registered to Shupe to a confidential informant mapped out a plan for another informant to sell Shupe oxycodone pills for himself and Lane.

Lane was arrested Thursday and booked into the Johnson County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Shupe waived a federal detention hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenville during his initial appearance Tuesday.

Both Lane and Shupe had been placed on administrative leave from the Mountain City Police Department.

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