The former police chief of Iron Mountain Lake was sentenced last week to probation on five charges related to a police pursuit outside of his jurisdiction that reportedly led to the discovery of missing drug evidence at the Iron Mountain Lake Police Department last year.
John Washburn, 52, appeared in St. Francois County on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, two counts of stealing a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence in a felony prosecution, and false impersonation of a law enforcement officer.
Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn placed him on five years of supervised probation and ordered him to complete the Veterans Court Program. If he violates the conditions of his probation, he could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
The former chief was given a suspended sentence of 30 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge of false impersonation of a law enforcement officer. He was placed on two years of bench probation to run concurrent to the other four terms.
The charges against Washburn were filed in September of last year after he was involved in a pursuit outside of his jurisdiction, which sparked an investigation.
According to a probable cause statement from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Washburn initiated a pursuit of a man on Sept. 10 at 8:40 p.m. from Farmington into Doe Run.
Washburn reportedly activated the lights and sirens on his Iron Mountain Lake law enforcement vehicle and displayed a shotgun to the man.
According to the report, Washburn had no authority in performing these actions as he was not a commissioned deputy of St. Francois County and was out of his jurisdiction.
Following a report from a St. Francois County deputy who observed Washburn ingest what the deputy believed to be methamphetamine, and a report regarding missing methamphetamine evidence in a pending criminal case, a search warrant was applied for and granted to search the Iron Mountain Lake Police Department's evidence locker.
After no methamphetamine evidence was located in that evidence locker, the report states that Washburn was interviewed and admitted to taking the methamphetamine evidence from the locker and ingesting it.
Following Washburn's admission to taking the meth, a search warrant was obtained to search the chief's home for other stolen items and controlled substances.
Inside Washburn's bedroom in the home, the report states that officers located a substance that field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org