BASTROP, Louisiana — The former commander of a drug task force in Morehouse Parish has been arrested on charges that he stole seized money from evidence.
Christopher Balsamo, a 40-year-old former sheriff's lieutenant, was arrested Saturday, charged with unauthorized use of the cash and released on $2,500 bond.
Legal papers reported by the Bastrop Enterprise (http://bit.ly/1gCwrf6) show that Balsamo told a state trooper investigating the case that he took $17,788 from a vault belonging to the Northeast Louisiana Drug Enforcement Bureau. Balsamo told the trooper that he tried to borrow money to replace the cash.
Balsamo resigned from the sheriff's office in 2011 after 14 years when an audit found less than $500 missing from a fund used to buy drugs in criminal investigations.
The former deputy paid back the money before he surrendered Saturday.
An employee with the district attorney's office said Balsamo did not yet have a lawyer. He faces a Dec. 30 court date.
Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Tubbs said he asked the State Police to investigate.
"A little over two months ago, an internal investigation determined that cash seized in two separate cases had never been deposited, as is our procedure," Tubbs said. "When we learned those funds were missing, I asked State Police to look into it for us."
Information from: Bastrop Enterprise, http://www.bastropenterprise.com/