Madisonville Police Sergeant Indicted in Public Corruption Case

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A Madison County grand jury indicted a local peace officer on public corruption and narcotics charges related to a scheme to plant methamphetamine on an innocent person. Madisonville Police Department Officer Jeffrey A. Covington, 37, is charged with delivery of a controlled substance, obstruction or retaliation, and official oppression.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case at the request of Madison County District Attorney Brian Risinger, who recused his office from the case.

In summer 2011, the defendant allegedly attempted to recruit several narcotics informants to plant methamphetamine in the vehicle of an unsuspecting female. Court records reveal that the intended victim, Laura Covington, was the defendant’s ex-wife and had been engaged in a lengthy child custody battle with him.

According to state prosecutors, after the methamphetamine was planted in the victim’s vehicle, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was told that she used the vehicle to transport and distribute narcotics. Unaware of the defendant’s plot, the trooper later conducted a traffic stop and searched Ms. Covington’s vehicle. The search revealed the planted methamphetamine, which prompted the officer to arrest the victim and book her in the Madison County Jail for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. After taking over the case, Assistant Attorney General David Glickler formally notified Ms. Covington that the State would not pursue the case and the charge against her was dismissed.

Madisonville Police Chief Chuck May says, "I was surprised and dumbfounded and still at a loss for words after hearing of his indictments. Jeff was a good policeman and deserves his day in court, just like any other person would."

If convicted on the third-degree felony charge of obstruction or retaliation, Jeffrey Covington could face from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The state jail felony charge of delivery subjects the defendant to a possible term of up to two years in a state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000. The official oppression charge is a Class A misdemeanor.

News 3's Nicole Morten has been investigating for several months and will bring more information as soon as it becomes available.