Virginia Police Chief Arrested In Drug Scandal

June 24, 2007

Chief Anthony Stephen Richardson, 40, was arrested at the police department Saturday. Authorities say he sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant during an undercover drug investigation earlier this month.

Along with the original meth distribution charge, Richardson has been charged with three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two counts of distribution of a schedule three drug and one count of possession of a firearm with a schedule one or two drug.

Virginia State Police Sgt. M.T. Conroy said Richardson was arrested without incident at the Damascus Police Department on Saturday. He is free on $20,000 bond and will be arraigned at 9 a.m. July 25 in Washington County General District Court.

"A tarnished badge is never a good thing," Conroy said. "I hope this doesn't overshadow the good work police are doing throughout Virginia."

Richardson spoke about the town's drug problem in an interview with the Bristol Herald Courier the day before his arrest.

"Methamphetamine has escalated to where we're almost at epidemic proportions, and we've really got to crack down, tighten down on it, or they're going to overtake us," he said. "It happens a little more than you'd think."

Richardson's arrest was the result of an undercover investigation in which a confidential informant bought methamphetamine from the chief on June 12, according to court documents. The seized drugs were sent to the state forensic lab, which confirmed it was meth, according to a news release issued by the Washington County Sheriff's Office, which joined state and Abingdon police in the investigation.

Conroy said Richardson has been police chief in Damascus, a town of about 1,000 near the North Carolina line, for about a year. He previously was police chief at Glade Spring.

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