A former officer with the Centre Police Department is charged with conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime–distribution after investigators said he unlawfully handled and planted evidence.

Mike Kilgore, 39, of Leesburg, was placed into the Cherokee County Jail on May 3 and bonded out the next day.

Chief Kirk Blankenship said Kilgore was arrested Wednesday evening after an investigation by Centre Police investigator Randy Mayorga. Mayorga opened the investigation into one of his own after receiving information about a possible crime.

"The arrest was made by Investigator Mayorga at the police department with assistance from Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Josh Summerford," Blankenship said.

Blankenship did not provide details on the case that led to the investigation but said there was evidence discovered that corroborated the information given to investigators. He said Kilgore was removed from his employment with the department.

"We are very disappointed in Kilgore's conduct," said Blankenship. "There is no excuse for any officer violating the law like this."

Kilgore, a K9 handler, earned a narcotics Detection Canine Team certification in January. That certification came from the World Detector Dog Organization. Just hours before his arrest, Kilgore posted on Facebook about living a calm life.

"You don't have to live like everybody else," he said. "In fact, you'll probably be happier if you don't. I'm at the calmest stage in my life right now. Life is way to [sic] short to waste your time and energy on people and things that disrupt your peace and don't matter."

The Gadsden Office of the FBI and the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office assisted in the investigation into Kilgore.

"We have great law enforcement officers serving in the Ninth Judicial Circuit," said District Attorney Summer Summerford. "The overwhelming majority of officers across the Nation work hard and dedicate themselves to keeping our communities safe. Law enforcement officers that break the law and violate both the public's trust and other officer's trust, will be prosecuted."

Kilgore is considered innocent until proven guilty.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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