Maryland officer charged with distribution and possession of prescription drugs

- A Hagerstown police officer has been arrested for distributing and possessing prescription drugs while on duty, officials say.

Sgt. Christopher Michael Barnett is charged with distribution and possession of prescription controlled dangerous substances, malfeasance in office and theft under $100.

Police say information and evidence from a source revealed that Barnett was conducting the illegal activity while he was on duty. There was also video footage showing the officer providing a prescription narcotic to another person. After witness accounts corroborated the video, criminal charges were filed against the 15-year veteran of the department.

Barnett was arrested by Pennsylvania State police at his home on Thursday.

"I cannot and will not make any excuses for this betrayal of our agency, badge, and community," said Hagerstown Police Chief Victor Brito in a news release. "I'm personally deeply disappointed and quite frankly sickened by this criminal act. That said, I know in my heart that the men and women I serve with at the Hagerstown Police Department perform their duties with integrity and selfless dedication every day."

Barnett has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. 

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