Records show an Ohio trooper accused of selling drugs in Delaware County, giving an accomplice a bulletproof vest and lying to police had been fired twice before for drug-related offenses.
Ohio Highway Patrol trooper Jason Delcol was charged with distributing controlled substances, distributing human growth hormone and witness tampering, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Columbus said Tuesday.
Delcol, 43, was one of six men charged in the drug trafficking scheme around the city of Delaware.
The patrol fired Delcol for conduct unbecoming of an officer on Tuesday, less than three hours after the government announced the charges.
"Public trust is our No. 1 priority and individuals like Delcol compromise that trust," said patrol spokesman Lt. Robert Sellers.
Delcol was in custody late Tuesday. and court records do not list an attorney for him. His 2017 review showed him meeting expectations.
Delcol "can be counted on to make good decisions and always considers downstream consequences," the review said.
That review came despite two previous firings by the patrol since 2012.
The patrol terminated him in 2012 and again in 2014 over allegations he violated the agency's policies for reporting use of controlled substances like painkillers. Arbitrators twice ruled to reinstate him.
A criminal complaint announced on Tuesday said Delcol received and supplied drugs from at least two men, and at least twice visited a conspirator's house in uniform and driving a marked cruiser.
Investigators tracked hundreds of text messages that included conversations about human growth hormone, testosterone, Xanax, cocaine and crack cocaine, marijuana, and the painkillers oxycodone and Percocet, according to Ben Glassman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus.
"U just got lucky I saw my buddy last night. And he has those pink things in 20s," Delcol said in a July text message to a co-defendant, referring to the painkiller oxycodone, according to the federal complaint.
Delcol provided a co-defendant with ballistic vests for protection, and lied to police who found the co-defendant with cocaine during an August traffic stop, blaming the drugs on the co-defendant's "children who were problems," the complaint said.