The Texas Department of Public Safety has made a second arrest related to the alleged firearm thefts from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office property room.
Former ECSO deputy Thomas Glen Smith was booked into the Wayne McCollum Detention Center at 6:23 p.m. Tuesday.
Smith has been charged with three counts of theft of property more than $1,500 but less than $20,000 enhanced, and two charges of tampering or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair. The warrant affidavit has identified Smith as a co-conspirator with former ECSO Lt. Philip Gray Slaughter II, arrested by DPS on April 15 on several charges connected to the alleged theft of firearms from the sheriff’s office property room.
“I’m not going to make a statement until the Texas Rangers have finished their investigation,” said Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.
Slaughter has been charged with two counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, three counts of theft and one count of tampering with a governmental record. Slaughter was employed with ECSO from Oct. 21, 2001 to March 28 when he abruptly resigned as the criminal investigations division lieutenant. He was the supervisor in charge of the sheriff’s office evidence room.
According to Slaughter’s arrest warrant, ECSO officials were informed by the Ennis Police Department that officers recovered firearms at Ennis Pawn, originally reported stolen. The firearms were a .36 caliber Colt revolver model No. 1862, a second colt revolver model No. 1860 and Taurus semi-automatic pistol. These firearms were allegedly pawned on April 5. Ennis Police stated that Slaughter was the person identified on the pawn receipt.
“Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Bryan McGee traveled to Ennis Pawn and identified the three firearms as being or been property in the ECSO Evidence room. Capt. McGee reviewed the ECSO Evidence Room inventory report and observed that two Colt revolvers were evidence in an open burglary investigation and were supposed to be in possession of the ECSO evidence room,” Texas Ranger Adam Sweaney stated in Slaughter’s arrest warrant affidavit. “Capt. McGee further observed that the Taurus pistol was in evidence in a closed narcotics investigation and was reported on a motion for destruction of weapons order by Phillip Slaughter to have been destroyed on Nov. 19, 2015 in Midlothian.”
The affidavit stated Slaughter had requested the destruction order from Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr. on Nov. 18, 2015. Slaughter then allegedly filed the motion for destruction order with the sheriff’s office evidence room indicating the Taurus pistol had been destroyed.
According to the Smith’s arrest warrant, further investigation revealed four more firearms were pawned at pawnshops, including Ennis Pawn and Pawn Store and More in Ennis on April 5. These firearms were ordered to be destroyed on Nov. 18, 2015. Slaughter was identified as the person on the pawn receipts. Investigators also learned additional firearms ordered to be destroyed on Nov. 18, 2015 were sold to individuals. The investigation is ongoing into where those firearms are now, the affidavit stated.
“On April 16, the affiant (Sweaney) was contacted by Glen Smith informing him that he had traded and bought guns from Philip Slaughter and wanted to know what to do with them. Smith provided the affiant with the serial number to three guns. The affiant verified the three firearms were stolen from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office and at least two were subject to the Nov. 18, 2015 destruction order,” the affidavit stated. “The affiant knows Smith through his employment as an investigator for the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, where he was employed fro Dec. 4, 2001 until he retired on Dec. 4, 2015.”
The affidavit stated Smith left the sheriff’s office and went to work as a deputy for the Lampasas County Sherriff’s Office. In a phone call to the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office, officer Amanda Garcia said Smith was no longer employed with the department and resigned Tuesday.
“On April 18, Smith contacted the affiant (Sweaney) informing him that Philip Slaughter asked him (Smith) to sell some guns. The affiant (Sweaney) learned that Smith, on more than one occasion in November and December 2015, pawned guns at a pawn shop in Ennis that were stolen from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office and were the subject of the Nov. 18, 2015 destruction order,” Sweaney wrote in the affidavit. “On April 21, (Sweaney) met with Thomas Smith and his attorney at the Texas Department of Public Safety Office the office in Waxahachie. Smith brought three firearms.”
The affidavit stated the firearms included a .223 caliber New England, a 9-millimeter Glock and a Winchester Model 94 rifle.
During his investigation, Sweaney spoke to witnesses who observed Smith and Slaughter inside of the sheriff’s office evidence room discussing and handling a gun later stolen from the evidence room, the document stated.
“The affiant (Sweaney) learned that Smith was present with Slaughter on Nov. 19, 2015 at Gerdau, located in Midlothian, to serve as a witness to the destruction of some items pursuant to the destruction order of Nov. 18, 2015,” the Affidavit stated. “On April 27, the affiant (Sweaney) received the mobile phone forensic image of Slaughter’s cell phone from the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office that was seized pursuant to a search warrant. The affiant observed multiple text messages between Smith and Slaughter between the dates of Sept. 26, 2015 and March 14, 2016, indicating they were co-conspirators in the theft of firearms and the tampering with evidence from the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office evidence room.”
According to the affidavit, text message conversations between Smith and Slaughter revealed the sale of gun from the property room. In the text message, it states that Slaughter allegedly said at one point that, “You may hear stories about it belonging to my Pawpaw! LOL I wld be a good crook!.” Smith then allegedly replied “All good bro.”
Smith remained in custody as of press time at the detention center with bonds totaling $500,000. Slaughter has since bonded out of the detention center. Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Joann Livingston said because of Smith’s history as a law enforcement officer, he is being housed separately from the general population at the detention center.
Slaughter had a hearing in the 443rd Judicial District Court to have his bonds reduced from $510,000 on April 28. Slaughter’s request was approved and his bonds were lowered to a total of $160,000.
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