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WEST COLUMBIA, Texas The top cop in West Columbia is behind bars and accused of stealing drugs that were supposed to be used as evidence in cases.

The accusations against Police Chief Michael Palmer have rocked the tiny Brazoria County town.

He was indicted this week on charges of tampering with evidence and possession of controlled substances.

The drugs came from arrests and hospice death investigations.

Palmer s own officers turned in him.

The fine men and women employees of the West Columbia Police Department were placed in an unbearable situation, the department said in a released statement. The officers did the right thing and reported this illegal activity.

Fellow police officers noted that on at least one occasion earlier this month, Chief Palmer appeared to be impaired or intoxicated.

Residents say the chief has been going through a difficult time and recently lost an infant grandson.

If my grandson had been as sick as his little grandson had been, I would say it s a very difficult time, said local florist Sylvia Gibson.

Many residents didn t want to comment at all.

The chief s bond was set at $100,000.

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