Ohio Highway Patrol Official Ousted Over Alleged Gov. Residence Plot


An Ohio State Highway Patrol official was relieved of his duties and was placed under an administrative investigation on Friday over an alleged smuggling plot involving inmates working at the Ohio Governor's Residence.

Maj. Robert Booker was in charge of a plan to arrest a drug suspect who troopers thought was going to convey drugs at Gov. Ted Strickland's residence, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.

The plan was to arrest a woman in a sting operation just after she made the drop, but Ohio Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor called off the sting and told troopers to warn the woman instead.

Booker was involved in a phone conference where he was told to stop the sting by Collins-Taylor, Aker reported.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Booker is not under investigation because of the outcome of the case, but rather his handling of the situation.

The news surprised Franklin County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Steve Martin, who said that Booker has always shown the highest level of character.

"(Booker) has impeccable credentials, impeccable integrity," Martin said.  "I think he's one of the best law enforcement guys I have come into contact with."

Booker's executive officer, Michelle Henderson, was more closely involved in the details of the operation and is not under investigation, but was reassigned to a post outside of headquarters, Aker reported.

According to the patrol, the move was not related and was planned before 10 Investigates uncovered the incident at the Governor's Residence.

On Thursday, Strickland told Aker that nobody at any level should face scrutiny related to the case.

"I don't know why they would be under scrutiny," Strickland said.  "I don't know that anybody has done anything wrong or inappropriate."

10 Investigates has made repeated requests to speak with Collins-Taylor, but she has declined to comment.

She was not in her office on Friday, Aker reported.

Stay with 10TV News and 10TV.com for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

January 28, 2010: Strickland Confident How Patrol Handled Sting Outside His Mansion
January 27, 2010: Woman At Center Of Alleged Drug Deal Governor's Mansion Explains Ordeal
January 26, 2010: Patrol Tips Off Woman Suspected In Drug Deal At Governor's Mansion