Recently released federal documents put a new twist on the illegal activities of former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge. In those documents, Hodge admits to an ATF agent that he organized a break-in of the sheriff's department in 2009.
The document also says Hodge is spending hundreds of dollars a month - while in prison. And now there are questions as to how he is getting that money.
Agents interviewed a cooperating witness in September. That witness was involved with buying and selling meth from Dan Peace. His home was raided by the feds in August, who were tight lipped about it at the time. They found explosive materials at a building on Leona Wyatt Road.
That cooperating witness was bunkmates in federal prison with Lawrence Hodge. The witness told agents Hodge is spending hundreds of dollars a month at the prison's commissary.
Agents believe some of that money could be the more than $150,000 embezzled from the sheriff's department.
Hodge told the witness money was hidden in his mother's safe and that family members were sending it to him.
The affidavit says agents talked to officials at the prison and found out the money coming in to Hodge's account is sent by money order from his mother Ruth Hodge, his sons, and a family friend.
But recently a search of Ruth Hodge's Whitley County residence by federal agents turned up nothing.
And we don't know all the details of this affidavit either - parts are blacked out.
Mountain News spoke with Ruth Hodge by phone Wednesday afternoon. She said agents found nothing at her house, and she doesn't know anything about the money. She said her sons deal with it - not her.
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