Local News

Former Carteret County law officers plead guilty to misuse of funds

Posted May 3, 2010 3:43 p.m. EDT
Updated May 3, 2010 4:08 p.m. EDT

Two former law enforcement officers pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to misuse of money designated for undercover drug buys.

Ralph Thomas, 60, of Beaufort, was sheriff of Carteret County from 1986 to 2006. Christopher Cozart, 35, of Morehead City, was a detective in the drug unit from 2002 to 2007.

The men took at least $5,000 between 1997 and 2006 from the fund that deputies used to buy drugs during undercover investigations.

They used checks drawn on official accounts maintained by the sheriff’s office and kept portions of the cash for their own personal use.

Thomas faces up to five years in prison for his role and could be fined up to $250,000. Cozart faces the same fine and up to three years in prison.