The Gaston County District Attorney’s Office recently dismissed charges against more than 30 defendants as a result of the ongoing federal investigation into the city of Cherryville that so far has seen the arrest of six people, including four area police officers.
Nearly 60 pending cases requiring testimonies from some of the “crooked” cops have been dropped, District Attorney Locke Bell told the Times-News late last week.
A majority of the charges in the cases involve traffic violations such as no operator’s license, expired tag and registration, speeding and DWI.
“Nothing where there’s a citizen victim to testify,” Bell said.
Defendants charged in cases that don’t call for one of the four officers’ testimonies will still be prosecuted.
Three Cherryville police officers, one Gaston County Sheriff’s reserve officer and two Cherryville residents were arrested earlier this month for allegedly working with federal agents—who were posing as criminals—in transporting stolen property through the area on tractor trailers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation in 2011 after devising the scheme that sought local cops’ assistance with criminal activity.
Frankie Dellinger, an officer at the time with the Cherryville Police Department, responded to the request, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has said.
He and other officers accused of participating in the illegal events, accepted cash bribes in exchange for their legal authority, federal authorities said.
Those charged alongside Dellinger include fellow Cherryville officers Casey Crawford and David Mauney III, Cherryville residents John Ashley Hendricks and Mark Ray Hoyle and Sheriff’s Reserve Officer Wesley Golden.
Police Chief Woodrow Burgess and department captain Mike Allred Sr., were suspended from their duties following the suspects’ initial arrests. Burgess has since resigned.
Sergeant Cam Jenks has since been named acting police chief.
“I’m very sorry this has happened,” Bell said of the police agency’s alleged corruption. “Cherryville is a wonderful town, and we will deal with matters.”