Former deputy sheriffs plead guilty to firearms, drug trafficking charges

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Two former Washington County deputy sheriffs pled guilty May 11 in United States District Court to carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
Norris Wayne Bartley, 43, and Billy Joe Mattingly, 42, both of Washington County, earlier pled guilty to drug trafficking charges and averted a jury trial by entering guilty pleas to the remaining firearms charge.
In open court May 11 before United States District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II, the defendants admitted that on Nov. 12, 2009 they carried firearms, issued to them by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, during a drug trafficking crime for which they were prosecuted.
Bartley and Mattingly admitted in open court on April 18, to stealing 30 pounds of marijuana from a locked trailer in Washington County, while on duty and in uniform, and that they attempted to conceal the marijuana in the trunk of their official vehicle.  
Bartley and Mattingly were arrested without incident by Kentucky State Police officers who were conducting the investigation.
The defendants further acknowledged that they had given a statement to federal and state investigators admitting that they had stolen the marijuana with the intention of later selling it.
The maximum potential penalties are five years imprisonment for the marijuana charge, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for three years. The maximum potential penalty for the firearms charge is life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and supervised release for five years.  The defendants are required to serve at least five years in prison on the firearms charge in addition to any prison sentence resulting from the drug trafficking charge.
According to the plea agreement, the United States will recommend a sentence of imprisonment at the low end of the applicable range.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Larry Fentress, and it was investigated by the Kentucky State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Bartley and Mattingly are scheduled for sentencing before Judge Heyburn on Aug. 15, in United States District Court, Louisville.