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BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -
A Burke County man who has worn a badge for 18 years as a sheriff's deputy is now on the other side of the law, stripped of his law enforcement position and facing drug charges.
Robert Whisnant was arrested Monday by State Bureau of Investigations Agents.
According to Sheriff Steve Whisenant, the former deputy was arrested in the act of trading the drugs for sexual favors. "It is disheartening to have to arrest one of your own," said the Sheriff, "But the Sheriff's Office espouses integrity and professionalism and thus type of conduct demands the action that we took."
Whisnant was a patrol deputy in the eastern part of Burke County. Residents said they were shocked by the allegations but also added that "Nobody is above the law." Church Bean said it is a tough thing for the Sheriff's Office but added "At some point people have to be responsible for their actions."
Whisnant was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver a controlled substance. The warrant said the incident that led to the charges involved one and a half tablets of Hydrocodone.
Sheriff Steve Whisenant said allegations are that there were several incidents and that the SBI is still investigating. None of the incidents, according to the sheriff, happened while the deputy was on duty.
As the former deputy awaits trial, there is concern that cases he may have been working on to help in the prosecution of others may be in jeopardy. The Sheriff said because Whisnant was a patrol officer and not a detective, the number of cases involved may be small but that officers and the District Attorney's Office are looking into the situation as well.
Whisnant is free on a $10,000 bond, with a first appearance in court scheduled for Wednesday.