By Greg Kocher, April 29, 2015
FRANKFORT — A DARE officer for the Frankfort Police Department who allegedly was involved in a transaction for anabolic steroids with a central figure in the recent high-profile bourbon thefts has resigned, a department spokesman said Wednesday.
Mike Wells resigned Monday, said Maj. Rob Warfel, spokesman for the department. As a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, Wells went into schools to warn students of the dangers of drugs.
Wells, 42, has not been charged in the bourbon thefts, Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton said Wednesday. Melton would not say whether he anticipated that Wells would be charged, but he said he did anticipate more arrests in the ever-expanding investigation.
Frankfort Police Chief Jeff Abrams said in a statement Wednesday that Wells resigned after the department conducted an internal investigation.
“During the course of this internal investigation, evidence was discovered which indicated that Officer Wells may have been in violation of the policies of the city of Frankfort,” Abrams said. “After deliberation, Officer Wells elected to resign his position with the Frankfort Police Department.”
Abrams said “other allegations” of Frankfort police officers’ involvement in the theft of bourbon or illegal use of steroids “are untrue and have not been substantiated. The members of the Frankfort Police Department are committed to serving the city of Frankfort with honor and integrity.”
Abrams took no questions from reporters after reading the statement.
Wells had been with the department for 10 years. In addition to his duties as a DARE instructor, he at one time was on a bicycle patrol.
Wells is named in search warrants related to the bourbon-theft investigation that were filed Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court.
A Wild Turkey employee told Franklin County sheriff’s detectives that a co-worker, Sean Searcy, “had sold some whiskey to some cops in Frankfort and that they were ‘running around together and they’re all supposed to be steroid freaks,’ including a ‘Wells boy’ who was described by Stewart as a police officer and a ‘big muscular guy,'” one warrant says.
The Wild Turkey employee “further advised that Wells got mad at Sean Searcy because Searcy had told two to three people, and it had gotten back to Wells’ boss.”
Call logs on key suspect Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger’s cellphone included numerous calls from Wells, specifically three calls March 11 when search warrants were being executed at Curtsinger’s home, where five bourbon barrels were found. Sheriff’s detectives have described Curtsinger, 45, of Frankfort as a ringleader in the bourbon thefts and the sale of anabolic steroids.
Curtsinger and Searcy, 49, of Lawrenceburg were among nine people indicted this month by a Franklin County grand jury in the bourbon thefts. The nine are scheduled to be arraigned May 22 in Franklin Circuit Court.
They allegedly are responsible for more than $100,000 in bourbon thefts, including ultra-rare Pappy Van Winkle. At least 18 barrels of bourbon from Wild Turkey in Anderson County and Buffalo Trace in Frankfort were recovered by authorities, who also found 25 bottles of various labels of Pappy Van Winkle, also taken from Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The case, which involved thefts dating to at least 2008, has drawn national attention.
Also discovered on Curtsinger’s cellphone were text messages Feb. 17 detailing an anabolic steroid transaction between Wells and Curtsinger, “where it appears Mr. Curtsinger is placing his anabolic steroid order with Mr. Wells, who will then order the steroids online,” the warrant says.
“Mr. Curtsinger ends the conversation with, ‘Give me a total, and I’ll hook up with ya.’ Mr. Wells responds, ”K, will do,'” the warrant says.
The search warrants indicate that members of the criminal syndicate were getting steroids from India, Hong Kong and Great Britain.
On March 23, the Franklin County sheriff’s office obtained a search warrant to seize Wells’ cellphone. He voluntarily gave police a password to the phone.
Last year, Wells was one of two officers who were recognized for their participation in a “sticker shock” campaign related to the enforcement of underage drinking laws.
Wells helped teen-age members of the Capital City Youth Coalition for Alcohol Education place bright yellow warning stickers on alcoholic beverages in retail stores to remind adults that it is illegal to buy alcohol for minors.
The “sticker shock” campaign was undertaken after a 2012 survey revealed that 70 percent of Franklin County 12th-grade students reported it was “sort of easy” to “very easy” to get alcohol.