Harris County Deputy Sheriff George Wesley Ellington was arrested Monday by FBI agents. The two-count indictment charging Ellington, 38, of Houston, was unsealed today following his initial court appearance. Ellington is being held pending a bond decision tomorrow.
"Law enforcement officers who betray their public trust are a danger to the public and to every other officer and agent seeking to uphold the law," said United States Attorney José Angel Moreno.
The indictment alleges that in February and again in April, Ellington received $500 for using his position as a deputy to access confidential information from secured law enforcement databases and for providing protection to a person he believed was illegally possessing and transporting Ecstasy.
Defense attorney Carson Joachim said, "We just found out as much as you know today, so we're still investigating at this time as well. We're going to visit with the family and our client and we'll make an assessment at that point."
Ellington joined the Harris County Sheriff's Office in October 1997. He is a deputy assigned to the patrol bureau.
"I will not allow for any employee who allegedly engages in criminal activity to tarnish the professionalism and dedication of the many great public servants who unselfishly serve the residents of Harris County with integrity and professionalism," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia in a statement. "This is an example of the kind of work our Office of Inspector General is charged with to make sure that HCSO employees, regardless of position or rank, exemplify ethical conduct at all times. This is the only way we can protect the integrity of our good employees and maintain the public's trust."
Each of the two charges against Ellington carries a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of 20 years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.