Charges against sheriff’s investigator dropped

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Pike County Justice Court personnel confirmed Tuesday that charges of possession of marijuana against Concordia Parish sheriff’s Investigator Jimmy Darden were dropped Monday.

Darden, who declined to comment, was arrested after wildlife officers found a marijuana joint in a film container in an ice chest that was being pulled behind Darden’s inner tube as he and friends floated down the Bogue Chitto River July 4.

But in court Monday, David A. Christiansen of Baton Rouge told the judge the joint was his, not Darden’s. After pleading guilty, Christiansen paid $278.50 in fines and court costs and was released.

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The charge against Darden was subsequently dropped, Pike County Justice Court Clerk Sharon Miller said Tuesday.

After the arrest, however, Darden was tested for drugs and has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the Sheriff’s Office receives test results. The office should receive those results in a couple of days, Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

Maxwell also released a written statement concerned Darden’s arrest.

&uot;Investigator Darden is a 20-year law enforcement veteran with an impeccable record,&uot; Maxwell said in his statement. &uot;I have the utmost confidence in him, and I can easily understand how a mistake like this can be made.

&uot;This being a political year, things can be blown out of proportion,&uot; Maxwell said.

&uot;We do take a charge of this nature extremely seriously, however, and it has been handled accordingly. One joint of marijuana may not be much to some people &045; but to a lawman, it’s a career.&uot;