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.