FIRST ON 3: New Hanover Co. lieutenant fired amid SBI drug investigation

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Submitted: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 3:36am
Updated: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 12:49pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy is out of a job and under state investigation.

Now there are questions about how the narcotics officer’s personal issues could affect criminal cases.

Joseph LeBlanc was assistant commander of the sheriff’s Vice and Narcotics Division. We’ve learned he’s under investigation for how he may have handled prescription drugs.

“This goes well beyond the potential criminal involvement of one person,” District Attorney Ben David said. “This goes to the very integrity and fabric of our system.”

David says he is concerned about how potential criminal charges against a man who oversaw drug investigations might affect other cases.

Sheriff Ed McMahon fired Lt. LeBlanc Tuesday morning after colleagues noticed something wasn’t right.

“The detectives saw some irregularities and they reported that to the captain,” McMahon said.

LeBlanc had been with the sheriff’s office since 1996. After 10 years of working his way up to lieutenant in the Vice and Naracotics Unit, he was demoted in 2006 and moved to the jail. Three years later, though, LeBlanc had worked his way back to narcotics lieutenant.

Now he’s out after an internal investigation found LeBlanc violated the department’s truthfulness, evidence procedures and drug policies.

Sources tell WWAY the allegations stem from LeBlanc allegedly diverting prescription drugs, but the sheriff won’t talk about specifics.

“It is more than just one type of drug,” McMahon said.

For now the sheriff and DA will let the SBI decide if LeBlanc broke any laws. If so, David will have to take another look at cases LeBlanc helped handle.

“I want to ensure that defendants have the right to a fair trial, and if they didn’t get a fair trial in any case that has been resolved, I need to know that information,” David said.

As for the public’s trust that might have been shaken, Sheriff McMahon says judge his office not on what they’ve done, but how they react.


  • Guest123123 says:

    This is not a road deputy folks. This is second in command of a drug unit. What does this say about the folks who put him there? This would be a question that would be put forth in the private sector

  • cb4life says:

    Wow, and this is who we have in our schools and arresting the bad guys?

  • chico especiale says:

    I, chico especiale, did not buy and drugs or take drugs or sell drugs or get arrested for drugs. I, chico especiale, offer to take his place as an officer of the sheriff.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …that way, you can be “soooooooo excited!”.

  • chico especiale says:

    I, chico especiale, will would be sooooooo excited to be have the job of officer of sheriff. That would fulfill the dream my father, chico especiale sr, had for me, chico especiale..

  • mars says:

    Let me guess the Republican party acting up again?

  • Guest6969696969 says:

    You’re getting 2 close to the truth….

  • Vog46 says:

    Overheard in the drug locker at teh NHC Sheriff’s Office:

    “one for them two for me. One for them 3 for me. Um oh wait – Vicodin? 1 for them 10 for me.”

    The person in question was overheard mumbling as he was escorted out:
    “Fired? Me? Oh, wow, man that’s a bummer.”
    Glad to see the Sheriff is winning the war against drugs.


  • Guest6482 says:

    1 down, many more to go!

  • PeterPan says:

    There are a lot of great people at the sheriff’s office… but there are also plenty that have no business being there… including good ole Sheriff Ed.

  • PeterPan says:

    This is for Robert Higdon on Face Book (and anyone else that feels the same way)… If Sheriff McMahon is the “most honest man you know”, I truly feel sorry for you. It’s apparent you do not work for McMahon… or if you do, you must be one of his cronies. Everyone who works for him knows that he keeps everything hush-hush until it spins out of control… then he steps up and pretends to be the honest hero in the bunch. In my opinion, he is the poorest excuse of a sheriff and does NOT have an honest bone in his body! Only his cronies think otherwise. If you actually “knew” good ole Sheriff Ed, your opinion would change rather quickly.

  • Guest Reply says:

    …..some of these narcotics…if not all…are for pain reduction for individuals due to disabilities/health issues…isn’t this story a….HIPPA violation? Tah Dah!

  • windy says:

    There is no such thing as a “HIPPA violation” …. do you even know what you’re talking about?

  • Guest24 says:

    This story has nothing to do with the officer taking doctor prescribed medication for disabilities/ health issues. Nor does it go into detail about the officers health issues or medication. Therefore this has nothing to do with a HIPAA violation. It has everything to do with the officer ‘diverting’ drugs that were not his. Last time I checked, there was more than just prescription medication on the streets. It could have been anything from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin…or anything else for that matter. TA DAH!!!!!!

  • truthseeker says:

    Another local Law Enforcement Officer accused of wrong doings. What, again or is this just common SOP for local cops? Maybe the Lt. sold the drugs to the Detention Officer who was recently fired. The Detention Officer hallucinated and thought he was with his favorite prostitute. Of course a unlikely scenario but with local Officers who can tell anymore! LOL

  • Guest123123 says:

    Did not even mention the sheriff or his wife. Just gave you info on people I worked with for almost 20 years. It does not get any more personal than that. Did you even read my post. Just because you are a god fearing man that does not automatically make you qualifies to be sheriff.

  • Guest111 says:

    Sounds like you or someone you know has had a run in with the sheriff and you lost.

  • mikemike910 says:

    No, he lost

  • Guest123123 says:

    Why is it if you say something non flattering about a cop you must have had a run in with them and ” lost “. I am so sick of hearing these stories day in and day out. And this is just only the stories we hear. I have been commenting on these blogs for years and the only reason I do not put my name is for fear of it coming back on me some how some way. Why because many cops are egomaniacs and can not handle the truth. Almost 20 years around these guys day in and day out made me sick to my stomach. The ones I had to endure on a daily basis were racist, cheat on their wives and would jack up anyone any chance they got. I have a business now where I have to deal with many of them and hear the stories from people of their unprofessional behavior.

  • PeterPan says:

    Thank you Guest123123 for speaking the truth! Your comment hit the nail right on the head…and it’s also a shame that one cannot list their name for fear of what will happen…but it’s so true.

  • Guest111 says:

    I have no business dealings with the sheriff’s dept or the court system . . thank goodness. I have never been in trouble. But I do know the sheriff and his wife personally and I know he is a man of his word and a God fearing person. You should get to know people personally before you start throwing stones. . and be careful of glass houses.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    Lt. LeBlanc is a good man. I’ve known him for years. But he obviously made a mistake. The Sheriff did something he did not like doing, but he had to do it. And, just like in two other recent cases, the Sheriff did his duty. We have an excellent Sheriff. When there’s a problem, like this, he handles it.

  • windy says:

    “He made a mistake???”

    Oh shucks, Chief …. I accidentally, unintentionally, and unknowingly diverted such a large amount of drugs that an SBI investigation is now warranted. But it was all a mistake, and I am a good man.

    Oh cry me a river!!

  • Guest 10101 says:

    The distance between a mistake and a conscious decision to do the wrong thing is approximately the same distance as the distance between the walls on both sides of the Grand Canyon.

  • Guest Reply says:

    Vog…your court “trail date” is set up for 2 weeks from this coming Monday evening @ 9:00 PM (Night Court).
    Since you are pleading “Guilty”…you will only get 20 days in the Electric Chair…instead of 30! I have a lawyer friend I used to golf with…that will only charge you “2” free rounds of golf @ Duck Haven…if it ever reopens that is. The only course he broke 100 on!
    Guess we oughta drop this huh?
    It’s been fun though :-)

  • Vog46 says:

    “There is no such thing as a “HIPPA violation”

    I thought there was a security provision within HIPPA and that DHHS would investigate complaints about that and in rare cases turn their findings over to the DOJ.


  • windy says:

    …. who refers to HIPAA as “HIPPA.” Do these people even know what the acronym stands for?

  • Guest Reply says:

    Sorry…it’s HIPPO. Didn’t mean to ruin your acronym day of all days.
    Acronym stands for the rights of the American people. The right to bare arms/legs and fingernail clippers on airplanes. The rights to cut your own lawn on Sunday without the Southern Baptist Convention trying to stop you. The right to everyone’s dream for a better/safer America where you can have off from work each Saturday/Sunday and buy beer before 12:00 on Sundays.
    The right to……..
    Forget it!

  • Vog46 says:

    I plead guilty guilty guilty.


  • 23 year LEO says:

    I have known the sheriff for a long time.
    He is a great person as well as a great deputy. Ed is not the problem it’s some of the staff that are untrustworthy!
    But knowing Ed he will take full responsibility and maybe he should as the leader. But all he needs to do is send a few staff officers to their retirement parties, and take a look at cleaning out Vice and Narcotics from the top down. Maybe some detectives could stay, but the top brass has to be gone!

    Ed may hate to do that but the integrity of the office is greater than a few tail draggers left over from the Stone Age! Your Deputies and the citizens need and are begging for better leadership!

    Please make the move and start cleaning house, starting with vice!

  • dean bailey says:

    you cant trust the cops.

  • Guest 1492 says:

    You want to kill Republican’s, you don’t trust your government, and now you also don’t trust the cops. Who’s next? You probably don’t even know yourself.

  • Guest Reply says:

    ….didn’t I Guest24?
    Thought I’d jump the gun and throw it in before some other idiot(s) said it before I did.
    Seems we need Police to watch the Police in this town. That’s how stupid and corrupt it has become here!

  • Wilmington Observer says:

    His comment was a parady. This may not have been the best place, or time, for it. But it certainly should not have raised your blood pressure so quickly. Ooops …… Sorry to mention your health concerns. Another HIPPA violation? Another parady, perhaps?

    Wilmington Observer

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    Look at the IRS scandal, the phone record scandal, Fast and Furious, Bengazi, forcing the healthcare package down the American peoples throats. Then look at the bank bailouts at the taxpayer expense when after which the bank execs got multi million dollar bonuses for the ultimate screwup and tossed the American people the finger. We have an AG that has been asked to resign over at least two incidents and he still smiles at you in indignance.

    So tell us all, just WHO do YOU really trust these days?

  • Vog46 says:

    Don’t confuse inept bureaucrats with “scandals”.

    The real scandal is now breaking in the State Department with prostitution, ambassadors seeking sex, protective forces soliciting sex……
    What a mess that will be.
    The phone records/NSA/PRISM things were voted on almost unanimously by Congress (which is why they haven’t said too much)
    IRS is a localized issue stemming from the Cinncinnati office and Issa is refusing to release ALL transcripts even though Dems and GOP members of his committee say yes to do it – why? Because it will prove he cherry picked info to make it look scandalous. (John McCain has openly questioned Issa’s intent on this).

    I’ll agree to Fast and furious and Benghazi although as for Benghazi they are still killing each other over there……..we can’t have armed camps ie embassies in each country……..
    I think we will reflect back on the time just after 9-11 and wish we didn’t rush legislation through Congress….

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