Thursday, July 28, 2016

City administrator faces felony charges


An investigation by Kentucky State Police has led to felony charges against Marion City Administrator Mark Bryant.

According to arrest records, Bryant, 55, was taken into custody Thursday night and lodged at 10:09pm, in Crittenden County Detention Center. He made bond Friday, putting up 10 percent of $5,000.

Charges of first-degree promoting contraband, trafficking in a synthetic drug and tampering with physical evidence were filed by state police detective Steve Brynn. All are Class D felonies, punishable by 1-5 years in prison if found guilty. According to state police reports, the United States Postal Inspector notified state police drug enforcement and special investigations west branch of suspected drug trafficking involving Bryant. Detectives responded and interviewed various individuals including Bryant on Thursday. 

State police say their investigation revealed that while overseeing Crittenden County Detention Center work-release inmates assigned to the City of Marion, Bryant was trafficking in synthetic drugs to various inmates. Investigators also say that Bryant was defacing shipping labels on United States Postal Service packages to avoid detection of drug trafficking. 

The FBI, DEA and Crittenden County Detention Center assisted with the investigation.

Trafficking in a synthetic drug was just recently made a felony by the 2016 Kentucky General Assembly. 

Sources say investigators believe Bryant facilitated contraband smuggling into the jail by work-release inmates assigned to the City of Marion. Work-release inmates are allowed to work outside the jail, normally during weekday work hours. In the evening, they are placed back into the detention center.

According to information on the Detention Center's web site, two inmates are regularly assigned to work for the City of Marion at the street department and water department. 

"These inmates receive valuable education and experience in working for local city government," the web site reads. 

The web site lists reading water meters, helping repair busted water lines, fall leaf pick up and litter abatement on city streets among the activities for which inmates are used.

Bryant was certified to oversee inmates working for the City of Marion. Anyone who oversees inmates on work-release programs are required to complete a course taught by the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Instructors provide printed handouts and explain various things overseers can and cannot do while they are engaged in the practice of watching work-release inmates outside the jail.

Bryant has served as the city administrator since October 2006. He is also acting director of the Crittenden County Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Pennyrile Area Development District Board of Directors.