Evidence against officer presented

Published 10:54 pm Friday, September 5, 2008

The Andalusia police officer suspected of trading sex for drugs had his first day in court Thursday and will now have his case presented to the Covington County grand jury.

Joshua Chad Wood, 26, was arrested in June on charges of distribution of a controlled substance, complicity and acts prohibited under the state’s prostitution law after he allegedly visited a local motel room with the intention of trading sex for prescription pills.

Wood was employed with the APD as a K-9 officer. His employment was terminated three days after his arrest.

On Thursday, Judge Frank “Trippy” McGuire said there was enough evidence to present the case to the grand jury.

During the day’s events, both the prosecution and defense had the opportunity to present both sides of their case as McGuire heard audio, video and witness testimony.

Star-News archives indicate Drug Task Force agents arrested Woods on June 5 after he attempted to provide prescription pills to informants.

Testimony on Thursday stated agents based the operation that resulted in Wood’s arrest on information they had received from confidential informants. Those informants alleged Wood was providing police “escorts” to known drug dealers in town to protect them from any other police contact.

Agents then set up an operation of which the basis was to have Wood escort the two informants and 3 pounds of marijuana to a location inside the city.

Video and phone call presented in court showed Wood traveled to the local motel and was in possession of two prescriptions, one a narcotic. The state alleges that Wood intended to trade those “pills” for sex.

“The judge found probable cause on the distribution and complicity charges,” said assistant district attorney Grant Scott. “He did not make a ruling on the prostitution charge, as that is a misdemeanor and he only rules on felonies.

“The case will now be presented to a session of the grand jury,” he said. “I know they meet next week, but I can’t say that it will be presented then. But I can say it will be sometime in the near future.”

If convicted, Wood could receive a jail sentence ranging from two to 20 years for his distribution offense and an additional sentence ranging from 10 years to life in prison for his trafficking offense.