NEW INFO: Former Carteret Co. Sheriff, Deputy Plead Guilty

A former Carteret County sheriff and a former deputy have pleaded guilty in federal court.

Former Sheriff Ralph Thomas and former Deputy Chris Cozart made the pleas Monday in Greenville.

The two were indicted in March for stealing federal drug money.

Thomas pleaded to conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, while Cozart pleaded to misprision of a felony.

The maximum Thomas faces is up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.00. The maximum penalty Cozart faces is up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.00. Cozart's attorney says his client has agreed to testify for the government.

The feds say from 1997 to 2006, Thomas stole funds that were designated for covert drug investigations. They say after drug funds were cashed, the sheriff would take a portion of the funds, often as much as 50%, for his own use.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Cozart, who was a drug detective, provided drug funds to be given to Thomas, knowing a portion of
those funds would be embezzled. The feds say Cozart did nothing about it and never reported the crime to law enforcement.

Thomas was first elected in 1986 and retired as sheriff at the end of 2006. Personnel records show that Cozart was a deputy from January 2000 to July 2007. Thomas & Cozart will be sentenced in August.

Last month three other former deputies were indicted for similar crimes.

Frank Galizia, Boyce Floyd, Jr. and Mark Farlow were indicted on charges of conspiring to embezzle and intentionally misapply drug funds along with aiding and abetting the embezzlement of those funds.

Galizia was chief deputy and unsuccessfully ran for sheriff in 2006. Floyd was a drug and property crimes detective, who also ran for sheriff, and Farlow worked as a drug detective. The three will be arraigned in June.


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  • by Marsha Location: Atlantic on May 10, 2010 at 09:14 PM
    I am almost certain that a lot of "underhanded" deals were made with other official's having knowledge of them; but no matter the case, we as American Citizen's should not try to blame another individual for someone else's prior mistakes. They say "You do the crime, you do the time", and I believe that is so. I am sure that there are a lot of "crooked" official's who are supposed to be setting examples, and they are breaking the laws themselves. This could be the cause of our counties "budget" always being on the negative side. Either way, it does anger me that "Drug Money" was stolen when we pay such large amounts of money each year towards taxes (among other things) and one thinks that the money out of "His Fellow Citizen's" pockets is not enough so he has to take money that could have went for a good cause like Rehabilitation Centers for people who do not have the money, or more important issues that this county has. Hopefully justice will be served in the right manor.
  • by CLAY Location: OTWAY on May 5, 2010 at 09:27 AM
    THIS SO CALLED SHERIFF & DEP. WAS REPORTED TO THE SBI IN 1994 OR 1995 IT ONLY TOOK 15 OR 16 YEARS TO GET THESE GUYS! SO DON'T BLAME ASA, HE ONLY HAD TWO YEAR TO WORK ON THIS STUFF. IF!!!!! ASA HAD KNOWNED ABOUT THE SHERIFF & HIS DEP.DO YOU THINK ASA WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP HIS JOB & FEED HIS FAMILY, NO!! OR WORSE WOUND UP LIKE THE DEP. THAT GOT KILLED ON HWY 101 DURING A SO CALLED DRUG DEAL THAT WENT BAD
  • by mike Location: havelock on May 4, 2010 at 08:24 AM
    the money was DRUG money : I use to work in a drug unit sometimes to get info you have to use this money and your snitch will not gave ya a receipt. it's get worst in the big city.
  • by wondering... Location: Newport on May 3, 2010 at 08:22 PM
    Just curious..started in 1997...hmm...all checks were cut by county manager..did no one in the county manager's office ever question anything?...ask for receipt?..or maybe they got their cut too?
  • by Stan Location: G'ville on May 3, 2010 at 05:25 PM
    It seems like it took a lot of years to uncover this crime. Greed will sink you everytime.
  • by Scott on May 3, 2010 at 04:56 PM
    Yes it would be a motivator. I want them to be motivated to get rid of the meth manufacturers and drugs. If them getting cash from drug bust... So be it. They don't get payed that great anyways for the things they do. Like I said send them down the river for the embezzlement.
  • by Beth on May 3, 2010 at 04:39 PM
    Gentlemen, was it worth $5,000?
  • by Larry Location: Newport on May 3, 2010 at 03:51 PM
    Please Lord, Make an example out of these guys. they abused their power with this while making others pay for it. Amen
  • by Jimbo Location: NC on May 3, 2010 at 02:18 PM
    It's not just the crime. It's that is was committed by folks who had a position of special trust within the community and they violated that trust. I hope they all get the maximum possible sentence but I know they won't.
  • by Rascle1 Location: Raleigh on May 3, 2010 at 01:33 PM
    The problem with allowing the officers to keep the money is it becomes a motivator. Please refer to the Robinson County Sheriff’s Office and the case of Tarnished Shield where law enforcement officers were fabricating evidence to get into places and then stealing money and drugs. During the course of this illegal activity, people's civil rights were violated. Law enforcement officers are in their profession by choice. They live by a code of ethics that is very strict. It is done though by choice. Those who violate that code should be prosecuted.
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