The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that a former drug agent was given a four-year sentence Wednesday for stealing money from both suspects and his agency, authorities say.
Mark Victor Shults, 35, will have to spend nine months of his sentence behind bars and the rest on supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay about $12,000 in restitution, according to Sevier County Chief District Attorney General Steve Hawkins.
He had pleaded guilty to three counts of theft over $1,000, a felony.
Shults was a Sevier County Sheriff's Department deputy when he was assigned to work for the drug task force, comprising officers from law enforcement agencies in Sevier, Cocke, Jefferson and Grainger counties, according to Hawkins. Shults became addicted to the drugs that he was supposed to be taking off the streets and began stealing from both suspects and the task force itself.
Because of Shults's misconduct, authorities were forced to drop charges against more than 20 people who had been arrested on drug charges in the course of his work with the task force, Hawkins said.
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