Former Missouri sheriff gets 12 years on meth charges

06/20/2013 12:31 PM

06/20/2013 1:44 PM

A former southern Missouri sheriff who resigned two years ago amid allegations of wrongdoing that included distributing methamphetamine has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ex-Carter County Sheriff Tommy Adams pleaded guilty to drug possession and distribution charges on Monday in a plea deal with the Missouri Attorney General's office.

He received a 12-year sentence for the distribution charge, and seven years for possession. The sentences will run concurrently.

The sentences are also concurrent to a 10-year federal sentence Adams is already serving after pleading guilty last year to possession of a stolen firearm, sale of a stolen firearm and being a drug user in possession of firearms.

Adams' attorney, David C. Mann, declined comment Thursday. Messages seeking comment from the attorney general's office were not returned.

The state case was moved to Jefferson County, near St. Louis, on a change of venue.

Missouri has a notorious meth problem, leading the nation in meth lab seizures and arrests over the past decade. Carter County, in a sparsely populated area of the Ozark Mountain foothills, had seemed oddly immune, with just five meth lab busts in the two years Adams served as sheriff.

Adams, 33, was arrested on April 2, 2011, and charged with distributing meth and cocaine. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Adams snorted meth in front of a confidential informant. His chief deputy, Steffanie Kearbey, was arrested that same day. Both resigned soon afterward.

Kearbey, 25, is also in prison. She was sentenced in federal court last year to five years on one count of possession of a stolen firearm and one count of sale of a stolen firearm. She was accused of selling a gun taken from her department's evidence room.

Kearbey is expected to stand trial in August on state charges alleging that she burglarized two homes, stole a duffel bag full of coins and possessed stolen firearms. Her attorney has said Adams was behind those crimes.

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