Earlier this week, we brought you news of a former Oklahoma drug agent who was expected to plead guilty to charges from a Mexican gun running scheme.
Now, another former narcotics officer faces criminal charges after being accused of embezzlement. Trever Wayne Manuel, 38, the former head of the Pontotoc County Narcotics Task Force, is alleged to have taken approximately $9,000 and to have pawned his state-issued service weapon. . He is accused of taking drug money seized during investigations and raids.
Manuel is alleged to have pawned weapons seized from drug crime investigations and even to have pawned his personal service weapons issued to him as a narcotics officer by the State of Oklahoma. Manuel faces two Oklahoma embezzlement charges and four counts of making false declaration to a pawn broker.
The Oklahoma embezzlement case is being prosecuted by the Pottawatomie County District Attorney, because the Pontotoc County DA is being called as a witness in the case. The Pontotoc Count District Attorney, Chris Ross, was over the Narcotics Task Force, and as such, was Manuel's former boss.
Ross said in a release issued when the allegations surfaced that he met with narcotics task force agents early this year and took over all funds and documentation regarding the release of those funds. He says that after an investigation revealed discrepancies, an "employee in his office" resigned. Ross claims that during a discussion following the employee's resignation, some of the missing funds were recovered, and since that time, the remaining missing money has been returned.
While Ross's release does not name Manuel as the employee, circumstances seem to indicate the Narcotics Task Force Agent. Under Oklahoma embezzlement law, part of the sentence upon conviction is restitution. The repayment of embezzled funds before the trial may have been motivated by Manuel's Oklahoma white collar defense attorney.
If the client has already acknowledged guilt, which may be the case in light of the conversation following the "employee's" resignation, the attorney may realize that the best defense is to show the client's remorse and willingness to pay the penalties for his actions. Such cooperation may go a long way toward mitigating the consequences and providing the best possible sentencing outcome for the defendant.
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