Federal investigation underway at Fentress Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Fentress County officials confirm federal investigators seized two county trucks when they went to the Fentress Co. Sheriff's Department.

Wednesday 6 p.m. update:  Fentress County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Gary Ledbetter confirmed to WBIR 10News federal agents seized two county trucks as a part of Tuesday's FBI investigation.

Ledbetter said one of those trucks was operated by Sheriff Chucky Cravens.

On Tuesday, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations arrived at the Fentress County Sheriff's Department to look into "allegations of impropriety," according to FBI Assistant Special Agent Matthew Espenshade.

No charges have been filed, but Ledbetter said the sheriff was not on duty on Wednesday -- nor is he expected to return to work in the near future. 

Ledbetter is now taking over leading day-to-day operations at the department, although a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney's Office told 10News Sheriff Cravens is not under arrest and is free to work.

In the county, views on Sheriff Cravens are mixed. Cravens ran for office for the second time in 2014 after previously serving as sheriff.

With few details on the nature of the federal investigation, many county residents are left seeking answers.

"If they brought the FBI to investigate our sheriff," said resident Sarah Cook, "I wonder all the things he's done?"

PREVIOUS STORY:

Federal and state agents are currently conducting an investigation at the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Nashville Matthew Espenshade told WBIR 10News that they are looking into allegations of impropriety at the Fentress County Jail and Sheriff's Department. 

Espenshade said the allegations came from multiple sources but could not say where or who specifically. 

He added that there have been no arrests or any charges filed. 

David Boling, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed early Tuesday afternoon that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were on scene. 

Boling was not able to speak as to the nature of the investigation. 

The Fentress County Sheriff is Chucky Cravens.

Fentress County Executive J. Michael Cross said he knew Cravens well.

He told 10News his office had not had any contact with the FBI.

“We are going to cooperate, but at this time we don’t know enough to make a statement,” said Cross.

Cross added that his office had not seen a search warrant or subpoena.

“I know that we are going to be vigilant, gathering info we’re not going to jump to conclusions, there will be a system and it will play itself out, we’re not going to prejudge anything,” Cross said.

10News spoke to Fentress Co. Chief Deputy Gary Ledbetter, who referred all questions to the FBI or U.S. Attorney’s office.

“I can tell you the standard answer I’ve been told to give everybody,” said Ledbetter.

He did confirm there was an investigation on site involving the FBI. He said he did not believe agents had removed any files from the office.

The FBI's Memphis division is heading investigation, according to Special Agent Espenshade.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories