LONDON, KY - The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kentucky State Police (KSP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) jointly announced today that a former state trooper, who previously pleaded guilty to federal drug charges, was convicted of carrying a firearm while trafficking prescription narcotics.
A jury found 35-year-old Michael Fred Pennington guilty of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The jury reached the verdict late Friday afternoon after two hours of deliberation following a day and a half trial.
Pennington pleaded guilty last week to two counts of drug trafficking. He worked out of KSP’s London post.
In September of 2011, Pennington offered a woman a Lortab pill in exchange for sex. The woman alerted law enforcement, so once Pennington arrived at her London residence and gave her the pill, detectives with KSP immediately intervened. Pennington resigned hours later.
Testimony proved that Pennington tried to use his authority, including his firearm, to intimidate the woman to engage in sex for drugs. Pennington was off duty at the time, but still was in full uniform, carrying his gun, when he gave her the pill.
“This case illustrates that the Kentucky State Police continues to react quickly regarding allegations of misconduct involving an employee,” said Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner. “Although this is a rare occurrence, it underscores the public oath we have taken to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from all criminals."
A day before he was arrested, Pennington escorted a social services worker to the woman’s residence to investigate child abuse allegations. Those allegations were later found to be unsubstantiated.
While at the residence, Pennington spotted a crushed Lortab pill and found a container with some additional pills in her residence. He told her if she had sex with him he would not arrest or charge her; the woman informed KSP officials of Pennington’s inappropriate actions and KSP began an undercover investigation.
The Lortab pill Pennington provided the woman was one of several he had taken from her residence the day before. KSP officials found the other pills in his cruiser the next morning.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Rodney W. Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner, and Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, jointly announced the conviction.
The investigation was conducted by KSP and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hydee Hawkins prosecuted the case on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Pennington is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6. He faces a maximum of 10 years on each drug offense and a minimum of five years on the firearm offense.