“I've worked and known Jody for about five or six years now,” said Normangee Police Sergeant Steve Milligan.
It's not very common that a police chief is arrested -- but it happened in Normangee and it left the entire town in shock.
"Knowing Jody personally, it was quite a surprise to me,” Milligan said.
“This is something that we never expected out of him,” said Normangee Mayor Ronnie Meadors. “Jody was a good police officer. Jody knows the laws and he was good at interpreting the laws, but in the same token, just with him working and knowing the law does not put him above the law."
Early Tuesday morning undercover agents with the Department of Public Safety raided suspected meth dealer 25-year-old Josh Troy Thomas' home at the 200 block of Church Street. Navarro was on duty and was arrested as he pulled up to the scene.
According to investigators, Navarro is accused of using a law enforcement computer system to aid a methamphetamine trafficker. A criminal complaint filed against the 40-year-old in May 2013 alleged Navarro ran a background check on a name supplied to him by a suspected meth dealer. As for Thomas --Normangee Police Sergeant Steve Milligan says the 25-year-old is no stranger to the law.
“He's had some problems in the past. Yes, he was on our radar,” said Milligan.
A criminal complaint was filed on April 26 of this year during an undercover investigation after, 45-year-old Brenda Antanette Evans bought nearly an ounce of meth from Thomas for $1,200. The only problem authorities say -- she purchased it for an undercover agent.
For now, Sergeant Milligan has his work cut out -- now that he's the only officer left in the entire department.
“Yea, it’s going to be rough repairing the reputation after something like this, but you know, I’m absolutely certain we’ll overcome this,” said Mayor Meadors.
"Sure, it’s a lot to take on,” said Sergeant Milligan. “But it's also being able to start off with a clean slate with everything. You know? Now there shouldn’t be absolutely any questions about our integrity."
Jody Navarro's brother Marty Navarro was the Police Chief in Jewett. He was fired from his position following an investigation with Texas Rangers in August 2012.
A criminal complaint, filed last Thursday and unsealed today, charges the Madisonville, Texas, resident with one count of intentionally exceeding authorized access to a protected computer. According to the criminal complaint, in May 2013, Navarro ran a background check on a name supplied to him by suspected methamphetamine trafficker and Normangee resident 45-year-old Brenda Antanette Evans.
A separate, but related, criminal complaint filed last Thursday and unsealed today, charges Evans and 25–year-old Joshua Troy Thomas of Normangee with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
According to that complaint, on April 26, 2013, during an undercover investigation, Evans purchased close to one ounce of methamphetamine from Thomas on behalf of an undercover agent for approximately $1,200.
Authorities arrested Navarro and Thomas yesterday without incident. Both had their Initial Appearances in Federal court this morning and are scheduled to have a detention hearing on September 3, 2013, before United States Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske in Waco.
Evans has yet to be apprehended. Upon conviction, Navarro faces up to five years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine; Thomas and Evans, up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as Deputy U.S. Marshals assisted with the arrests. Assistant United States Attorney Mary Kucera is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
Evans surrendered to authorities at the McLennan County Jail in Waco Wednesday afternoon. She remains in custody and is scheduled to have her Initial Appearance before a Waco judge Thursday morning.
"This has been an eight month long investigation and Tuesday’s outcome is the result of multiple state, local and federal agencies working hard together to combat drug trafficking in Leon County," said Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis.