Former sheriff sentenced on federal charges

A former Kentucky sheriff, who admitted to using his job to deal drugs, steal money and extort people, is now headed to federal prison.

A judge sentenced Lawrence Hodge Wednesday morning to 186 months in prison: that amounts to around 15-and-a-half years. U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove sentenced Hodge for conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"From a defense standpoint, we always went to shoot lower. We would've loved to have had this reduced even further. But this was an acceptable penalty that we can live with," said Hodge's attorney Brent Caldwell.

Judge Van Tatenhove also ordered Hodge to forfeit $50,000 and pay $64,897 in restitution to both the Whitley County Fiscal Court and the federal government.

Hodge previously admitted that on at least three separate occasions between 2004 and 2007, he conspired with Williamsburg defense attorney Ron Reynolds to extort money from individuals that the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department charged with felony drug
trafficking offenses.

Hodge also acknowledged that he conspired with numerous drug dealers in the Whitley County area to distribute prescription pills, primarily oxycodone, over a seven year period. Hodge admitted that he was addicted to prescription pills throughout his tenure as

In addition to the federal case Hodge was sentenced on Wednesday, he also faces local charges of abusing public trust.

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