A New Port Richey police officer is under arrest tonight, facing serious drug charges.
John Nohejl is charged with drug trafficking, tampering with evidence, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Nohejl is a thirteen year veteran of the New Port Richey Police Department.
New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens says he is embarrassed and disgusted by the officer's actions. "I can say that it is disgusting that I have to stand before you right now and speak about one of our officers having been arrested for serious felonies."
However, the chief says he was not surprised by the arrest. Officer Nohejl has been in trouble with the department before. Chief Steffens suspended the officer when a supervisor found Nohejl sleeping in his patrol car twice in one shift.
Chief Steffens says, "On two occasions on one shift on April 16 through the 17th of last year, he was found in one of our marked patrol cars, with the engine running, with himself fast asleep."
The Chief suspended the officer after the incident, ordered a drug test and began an internal affairs investigation on him as a result. Officer Nohejl has been on administrative leave since the April incident.
The officer has also twice been accused of sexual battery, once by a person he arrested and on another occasion by an acquaintance. Chief Steffens says both incidents occurred before he became police chief, they were investigated by an outside agency and deemed to be unfounded.
On Thursday night the Hernando County Sheriff's office says they received information that someone was trying to sell drugs.
Deputies tried to pull over a car driven by Nohejl, he then attempted to drive off. Deputies arrested him a short time later.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office found one tablet of Hydrocodone on the floor of his car. A baggie containing twenty seven more tablets of Hydrocodone on the side of the road where they says Nohejl had thrown it after fleeing the traffic stop.
Chief Steffens says Nohejl will receive due process, but he expects he will never work for the department again. "The fact that he was arrested, we are going to take immediate additional steps. He's going to be suspended without pay at this point, seeing as that he is already on administrative leave. We'll move to the next stage of the administrative process against him."
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