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Marion, VA police chief fired after federal arrest on drug charges

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MARION, VA (WJHL) -

In a statement Wednesday evening, Marion, VA Mayor David Helms announced the firing of Police Chief Michael Roberts.

Roberts was arrested on federal charges after an investigation into the alleged distribution of a controlled substance. Mayor Helms also said Lieutenant Rex Anders will be serving in command of the Marion Police Department on an interim basis.

Here is the full statement from Mayor Helms:

"Michael D. Roberts was hired by the Town of Marion as a patrolman in July 1986, and he was promoted to Chief of Police on July 01, 2000.  As a result of today's investigation and arraignment, the Marion Town Council met in executive session this evening and subsequently voted unanimously to instruct Town Manager Bill Rush to write a letter to Michael D. Roberts informing him that his services were no longer required by the Town of Marion effective June 19, 2013.

Lieutenant Rex Anders will be serving in operational command of the Marion Police Department until further notice.

The Town of Marion continues to work with all agencies in full cooperation during this investigation."

Roberts is out on a $10,000 bond. He is mandated to stay at his parents home for the time being.

 



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News Channel 11 has learned Marion, VA Police Chief Michael Roberts was arrested on federal charges.

54-year-old Roberts, also known as "Fireball," was arrested earlier this morning and charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance.

According to a probable cause affidavit that News Channel 11 obtained, Roberts is charged with distributing the name brand prescription pain killer Lortab, which contained the schedule III narcotic hydrocodone.

The affidavit states that on June 7, a confidential defendant placed a recorded call to Roberts to confirm a previously scheduled meeting on June 8. According to the affidavit, Roberts arrived at the cooperating defendant's Russell County home on June 8th where he was monitored by audio and video devices. The affidavit states Roberts not only gave the cooperating defendant  pills, but that Roberts also crushed and snorted some of the pills, which turned out to be hydrocodone pills.

Roberts made his first federal court appearance Tuesday afternoon, but court records did not show an attorney for Roberts.

It's not known at this time the next time Roberts will appear in court. 

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved. The Associated Press Contributed to this report. 

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