Southport police chief, lieutenant indicted by Brunswick County grand jury

Southport police chief, lieutenant indicted by Brunswick County grand jury
Gary Smith, left, and Michael Simmons

SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) - Southport Police Chief Gary Smith and Lt. Michael Christian Simmons were both indicted by a Brunswick County grand jury on corruption charges, according to District Attorney Jon David.

David said the department's top two officers were indicted Monday on charges of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretenses, willful failure to discharge duties, and obstruction of justice. Smith was also indicted on an additional charge of obtaining property by false pretense.

Smith and Simmons have both been suspended without pay after the pair were arrested on July 26 following a joint investigation by the FBI and the State Bureau of Investigation.

State investigators allege that Smith and Simmons were driving overnight shifts for Oak Island Transport during the same hours they had claimed on their daily activity reports for the Southport Police Department.

Following their arrests, the remainder of the Southport Police Department was placed on paid, non-disciplinary, administrative leave until further notice as the city conducts an internal investigation to see if any other officers were involved.

In a news release issued last week, Mayor Jerry Dove said city leaders hope to have the department reinstated as soon as possible. A list of possible options for the city's next steps will be presented to the Board of Aldermen Thursday night.

The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office has assumed all law enforcement duties in the city until further notice.

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