Senate Hearings On Canceled Drug Sting Will Continue

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An Ohio Senate hearing set to probe the circumstances involving a drug sting at Gov. Ted Strickland's residence that was called off will go forward, despite calls to postpone the testimony of key Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers.

Republican Sen. Timothy Grendell has issued subpoenas to key patrol troopers including Capt. Michelle Henderson and Maj. Robert Booker, who is retired, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported Monday.

Earlier this month, Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles sent Grendell a letter, asking him to postpone the testimony, and said the testimony could compromise his investigation.

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Charles said in a phone interview Monday that he would like to see the testimony delayed until April 9, Aker reported.

Maj. Booker was relieved of his duty following the cancelled sting, which was about one week before his planned retirement.

The patrol reassigned Henderson, and said that move was already in the works.

The review involves a drug sting called off in January, an incident 10 Investigates first uncovered.

The Patrol had plans to arrest a woman it believed was going to deliver drugs to an inmate work crew at the governor's Bexley residence.

Troopers believed the plan was for the inmates to deliver the contraband to the suspect's husband, who was an inmate at the Pickaway Correctional Institution, Aker reported.

Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor decided to call the sting off and directed the patrol to warn the woman not to go through with the plan.

In a letter sent Monday to the Inspector General, Grendell said that he has already deferred to the Inspector General by delaying the original hearing by three weeks, Aker reported.

Grendell said he believes the Inspector General has had enough time to interview witnesses.

Booker and Henderson's testimony may be important because several sources close to the investigation believed they may have been treated unfairly after they followed the orders of their superiors, Aker reported.

E-mails recently obtained by 10 Investigates show Collins-Taylor was concerned about embarrassment to her "boss" the governor and directed patrol Col. David Dicken to "scale back" 
the operation and warn the suspect.

Collins-Taylor has declined to comment. Shortly after 10 Investigates first reported the story, the patrol took action against Booker and Henderson.

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Previous Stories:

March 17, 2010: E-Mails Show Drug Sting May Have Been Stopped For Political Reasons
February 24, 2010: Cover Up Allegations Follow Canceled Drug Sting
February 23, 2010:  Concerns Linger About Alcohol, Inmates Inside Governor's Residence
February 17, 2010:  10 Investigates' Probe Prompts Senate Hearing
February 2, 2010:   Patrol Changes Investigation Involving Major 
February 1, 2010:   Ex-Colonel Wants Investigation Into Alleged Gov. Residence Plot
January 29, 2010:   Ohio Highway Patrol Official Ousted Over Alleged Gov. Residence Plot
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