RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – A former and current deputy with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office have each had an indictment issued by a federal grand jury.

The news was released by the office of Michael Easley Jr., the US Attorney for the Eastern District of NC. The indictment was issued on August 17. It states Michael Kenneth Cox, 48, and Christopher C. Worth, 52, were each indicted on 12 separate fraud charges.

Cox was employed by the sheriff’s office from 1996 until he retired as the head of the drug unit in 2018. Worth joined the sheriff’s office in 1993 and is a major overseeing all of the sheriff’s office criminal enforcement sections and support services, according to Easley.

The indictment states the charges come from an alleged scheme by Worth and Cox “to steer contracts for upfits of Wayne County Sheriff’s Office vehicles to a business owned by Cox and employing Worth, regardless of whether Cox’s company provided such work at the lowest price as required by the Wayne County procurement requirements.” 

Cox was also indicted for conspiring with multiple drug traffickers to distribute and possess cocaine and oxycodone. He was also charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI.

“Law enforcement officers take an oath to protect and serve our communities by upholding the rule of law,” Easley said. “Our office will continue to hold accountable those who violate the public trust and abuse their position for personal gain.”

The FBI and the ATF are investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis Duffy and Nick Hartigan are prosecuting the case.