A former deputy sheriff in southeast Arkansas has pleaded guilty to charges related to a plot to plant methamphetamine on an unsuspecting person.
Robert “Bo” Sanderlin, 26, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation on charges of use of a communication device in commission of a drug offense and abuse of office, an order filed in Drew County Circuit Court states.
A charge of solicitation of methamphetamine in an amount more than 2 grams was dropped as part of a plea agreement.
On Jan. 30, agents with the 10th Judicial District Task Force initiated an investigation into Sanderlin, then a deputy sheriff with the Drew County sheriff’s office.
According to an affidavit, someone had reached out to the agency, telling authorities that Sanderlin had called him and told him of a plot — one that involved the informant planting drugs on someone so the deputy sheriff could make a drug arrest.
The informant said that he was scared because he was on probation and that the deputy sheriff was reportedly blackmailing him using pending drug charges stemming from a vehicle accident Jan. 15.
The phone call between the informant and the law enforcement official reportedly included Sanderlin telling the would-be accomplice that he didn’t care how the drugs were obtained and that he would “handle it from there,” the affidavit states.
The drug task force asked the informant to call again Jan. 31 with authorities present.
Sanderlin detailed the plan: purchasing 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine and framing an unsuspecting passenger of a vehicle driven by someone he had named.