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Pasco deputy fired for planting drugs, sheriff says

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PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pasco County deputy is off the job, accused of trying to frame a drug suspect. Sheriff Chris Nocco briefed the media Tuesday about what led to Deputy Stephen LeBlanc’s firing.

LeBlanc planted drugs in the bag of a known drug suspect, Thomas Parizzi, Nocco said.

It all started last November.

“I can tell you it possibly goes back to the fact that Parizzi had spray painted LeBlanc’s name on his own trailer, Parizzi’s own trailer, saying, ‘LeBlanc for Sheriff 2016.’ We don’t know any other altercation that occurred between the two,” Nocco said.

Investigators believe the deputy got a syringe and a crack pipe from Parizzi’s neighbor and planted it in Parizzi’s bag.

“(Parizzi) goes and checks himself into a rehab center. When he checks himself into the rehab center, the staff notices the items that are in the bag and notifies the sheriff”s office,” Nocco said.

That’s what sparked the investigation into the deputy and led the neighbor to tell investigators what happened.

“We will hold ourselves responsible for our actions. We are going to be transparent with our citizens because we have to play by the rules. We know criminals don’t. Everybody knows that but law enforcement officers have to play by the rules,” Nocco said.

In addition to losing his job, the former deputy may face obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence charges.MORE NEWS THAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON: 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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