After more than a month in limbo, former deputy Chris Parsons turned himself to police custody on Monday to face multiple drug charges following an indictment by a Mobile County grand jury last week.
Parsons, who was formerly employed by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), was terminated last month after he was caught purchasing drugs and controlled substances and marijuana were found in his patrol car — the result of an undercover investigation conducted by MCSO and the Saraland Police Department.
However, as Lagniappe reported last week, more than a month has passed since Parsons’ was terminated and warrants for his arrest for “possession of marijuana” and “illegal possession of prescription drugs” were approved by the Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich’s office.Yet, according to Rich, Sheriff Sam Cochran caused the month-long pause between Parsons’ termination and his arrest this week by instructing two of his employees not to sign the warrants against the former deputy.
Last week, Rich also noted the employee needed to sign Parsons’ arrest warrant for the Saraland Police Department had become an MCSO employee. MCSO spokeswoman Lori Myles later confirmed that Greg O’Shea — a previous MCSO employee — had been officially sworn in on April 25.
On the other hand, Cochran has maintained that MCSO handled Parsons’ case like it had similar ones the past — claiming that it needed to be presented to a grand jury to accelerate the process and protect the identity of undercover informants. Parsons’ voluntary entry into an out-of-town treatment program was another reason given for the delay.However, while he underwent treatment, the situation caused a stir locally as dozens of others were immediately arrested for the same crimes Parsons was accused of — something that quickly prompted accusations of preferential treatment.
Parsons’ father, Lonnie Parsons, was also a long-time MCSO employee, though according to Myles, he retired as MCSO’s chief of support services on Friday, April 27 — the same day a local grand jury indicted his son on six separate drug charges.
According to records kept by the Mobile County Metro Jail, Parsons turned himself into police shortly after 11 a.m. and was released on the bond set by the grand jury around 17 minutes later.
In all, Parsons faces charges for possession of marijuana, illegal possession of prescription drugs, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.