Police Chief Surrenders on Drug Charges
COTTONWOOD, Ariz. (AP) _ Jerome Police Chief Ron Ballatore has been freed on $5,500 bond after surrendering to face charges of participating in a marijuana operation that resulted in 23 arrests last week.
Ballatore, who was in California when state and federal officers made the drug bust in the Verde Valley Friday and Saturday, surrendered Tuesday to Russ Ingraham, one of his officers, Tuesday.
A short time later, he appeared before Justice of the Peace Jack Findlay, who set bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 25.
Asked if he had anything to say, Ballatore replied, ″Nothing, except I’m sorry.″
Ballatore, 43, posted bond about two hours after he was taken to the Yavapai County Jail annex in Camp Verde.
He told a reporter, ″I can’t say anything. I’m in enough trouble as it is.″
Ballatore is charged with one count of conspiracy, alleging he participated with others, including two members of the Jerome Town Council, in promoting or aiding the production and sale of marijuana. He also is charged with five counts of hindering prosecution, alleging that he warned some people that they were about to be arrested and that he suppressed evidence against one suspect.
Ballatore apparently will remain chief of Jerome’s four-member Police Department for the time being. Although there had been reports the Town Council would meet soon to consider some action against the chief, Mayor Luis Martinez said a special meeting would not be held this week.
Among those arrested last week were Richard Flagg and Anne Marie Bassett, members of the Town Council.
Ballatore moved to Jerome eight years ago and became its police chief a year later. He resigned in May 1984 but was rehired last May when Acting Chief Helen Lewis resigned.