TBI: East Tennessee sheriff, employees arrested on misconduct charges


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested two Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office employees and the sheriff himself on several charges.

The TBI began investigating allegations of illegal activity at the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office in August of 2017.

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray, 72, was arrested Wednesday and charged with seven counts of official misconduct, one count of use of inmates for personal gain, one count of forgery and six counts of attempt to evade or defeat tax due.

The investigation revealed that from August 2017 through August 2018, Ray used inmate labor and county resources to work on vehicles and equipment he personally owned. Inmate labor was also used to assemble Ray’s campaign signs. The investigation further revealed that Ray forged and altered the certificate of title to at least one vehicle, and attempted to evade paying the proper sales tax on several personally owned vehicles that he sold dating back to 2012.  

During the course of the investigation, agents learned that Larry Allen Roberts, a sheriff’s office employee also known as “Fireball”, utilized a county vehicle to acquire a controlled substance. The investigation also determined that Larry Lee Martin, a captain at the sheriff’s office, possessed a handgun on multiple occasions despite being a convicted felon. 

Roberts, 54, is charged with two counts of official misconduct and Martin, 45 is charged with three counts of felon in possession of a firearm. 

All three men were arrested Wednesday and booked into the Claiborne County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

The investigation remains active and ongoing by state and federal authorities. 

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