Southport Police chief lieutenant arrested following state federal investigation

first_imgSOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Southport’s police chief and one of his lieutenants have been arrested after a long-term probe by state and federal investigators, according to the Brunswick County District Attorney.According to the Brunswick County Detention Center’s website Chief Gary Lee Smith was booked at 11:23 a.m. District Attorney Jon David said Smith is charged with obtaining property by false pretense, obstruction of justice and willful failure to discharge duties of office. David said Lt. Michael Simmons is charged with obtaining property by false pretense. Gary Smith (Photo: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office) At a news conference this afternoon, David said the charges stem from Smith and Simmons allegedly working with a trucking and shipping company while on the clock for the City of Southport, including at times leaving the city, county and state. The arrests, David said, came after an investigation by the NC State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.Mayor Jerry Dove, who was the city’s police chief before Smith, said he was shocked at the news of the allegations. He said Smith and Simmons are on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.In the meantime, Dove said the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office will step in to take over leadership and enforcement functions in Southport.Related Article: Man accused of decapitating mother found not guilty by reason of insanityDavid said the police department was “a ghost ship,” as officers were working often without leadership. The DA said some of those officers were the ones who tipped off investigators about what was allegedly going on.David said he has already put in place a process to review pending cases from Southport that his office is prosecuting.The SBI says it got involved in May at David’s request. The agency then asked for help from the FBI’s office in Wilmington. Both agencies’ investigations continue.Investigators executed several search warrants today at the police department, city hall and the trucking company.According to a StarNews profile on Smith in 2016, he is a native of Bolivia and 1990 graduate of South Brunswick High School. He worked for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office from 1994 to 1997 before he started as a patrol officer with the Southport Police Department, where he worked his way up through the ranks. Smith became chief in 2015, when Dove retired.In May 2017 Smith was appointed to an unexpired term on the Dosher Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees. That term was set to expire in 2019, but Smith resigned from the board in August 2017.Stay with WWAY for more information as it becomes available. – Advertisement – center_img Michael Christian Simmons (Photo: Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office) 1 of 2last_img read more