RCSO: insufficient evidence of steroid use in department

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The investigation into accusations that Richmond County Sheriff's Office employees were buying and using steroids has been completed, and the results are have now been revealed.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said Monday the state does not have enough evidence to press criminal charges against the deputies, and Sheriff Roundtree said there will not be any internal disciplinary reports filed.

In total, 25 pages of information were released, and Sheriff Roundtree said he's just hoping the Sheriff's Office can move forward from these allegations.

"No criminal charges will be filed in this case, and no internal discipline reports are expected to be filed," Sheriff Roundtree said at a news conference Monday. 

After 11 months of investigations and drug tests, 13 deputies of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office have been cleared after they were accused of buying and using steroids.

"Anytime an allegation comes up into your organization, you want to be thorough and you want to be swift, and we try to be transparent," said Sheriff Roundtree. 

In October of 2014, Brandon Paquette was arrested for possession of steroids with intent to distribute. In an initial interview, he told officials with the Sheriff's Office he had been selling steroids to deputies since 2004.The Sheriff's Office immediately turned the investigation over to the GBI before conducting its own internal investigation.

Only one officer, Sgt. Phillip Hambrick, admitted to buying steroids from Paquette.  He was among three officers who resigned.  Thirteen others were drug tested and interviewed. No evidence was found in five of those cases, and could not be determined in the eight others,

Sheriff Roundtree said the investigation serves as an example for deputies across all agencies of just how seriously allegations are taken.

"We use this opportunity as a learning experience in fact to educate our deputies, to show again how situations can arise, how not to put yourself in dangerous situations, or situations that can misscrewed as unethical," he said.

The investigation against Paquette is still ongoing, and Sheriff Roundtree was not able to provide any updates into the investigation at this time.

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