SIBERTAL

Al Sibert is the Republican candidate for Frederick County sheriff in the Nov. 5 election.

WINCHESTER — A letter sent to The Winchester Star calls into question a 2013 Virginia State Police investigation into Frederick County sheriff candidate Allen Sibert for possessing confiscated drugs, but Sibert, a Republican who is challenging incumbent Lenny Millholland in the Nov. 5 election, says he has "nothing to hide."

The letter was sent anonymously earlier this year by a "concerned citizen from Frederick County,” but Frederick County Sheriff's Office Capt. Aleck Beeman admitted in August that he had written it. He said he wrote the letter as a county resident, not as a Sheriff's Office employee.

"I believe that the citizens of Frederick County deserve to know the truth about Mr. Sibert's past performance as a law enforcement officer," the letter states.

Sibert was not prosecuted as a result of the investigation. He says Beeman, who supports Millholland's re-election bid, dredged up the investigation as "a political attack by an ultra-left liberal."

"We saw this same sort of thing with President Trump and Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh," Sibert said. He says Beeman "hates his guts with every fiber of his being” and that Beeman is just trying to save his roughly $110,000 a year job with Millholland, who is running as an independent.

Sibert confirmed he was investigated six years ago by state police over allegations that he illegally possessed controlled substances and drug paraphernalia confiscated from previous criminal cases. He was employed by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office when the investigation occurred. He says the drugs and paraphernalia were used in law enforcement training exercises.

State code says all controlled substances that come into the custody of a peace officer or that have been seized must be forfeited and destroyed, but code also says a court may permit the items to be given to a person or entity, if the person is able to demonstrate a sufficient need for the drugs and an ability to put them to a lawful and beneficial use.

Sibert, who is now a major and chief deputy in the Winchester Sheriff's Office, previously worked as captain of investigations in the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. He and Beeman were co-workers at that time. From 1989-2004, Sibert worked at the Warren County Sheriff's Office. From 1994 until July 2012, he was part of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task force, serving as the task force's team leader from 2004 until 2012.

State police declined to release the findings of the investigation in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by The Winchester Star because it contained information the investigator did not want made public. However, the Frederick County and Warren County commonwealth's attorneys did not pursue a case against Sibert. Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Ross Spicer cited a lack of illegal activity. 

“It was explained to me that his possession of those drugs was solely as the result of his teaching efforts in the community,” Spicer said in an interview. “He would use those for props essentially. In our view, his use of the drugs was permissible under state law.”

Although the investigation is long over, Beeman said he is raising the matter as a campaign issue because Sibert never publicly acknowledged it. Sibert said he never made a public statement about the investigation because "it wasn't that big of a deal." 

Beeman, however, thinks voters should be made aware. He also believes Sibert should have been prosecuted.

“It is not legal,” Beeman said. “Law enforcement officers cannot possess drugs. They are no different than anybody else. We can possess them in our duty. I can take them off you and turn them into evidence and then I can take them and turn it over to the lab, but I just can’t take them and keep them for several years.”

———

The investigation was launched after photographs of heroin and needles were published in an Aug. 22, 2013, Winchester Star article, “All hands on deck to fight the heroin war,” about the Drug Task Force’s participation in a heroin summit. Sibert participated in the summit and used several drugs as props for educational purposes.

Beeman noticed the heroin and needles in the newspaper photos, including an ounce bag of heroin, with captions stating the drugs had been seized by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

He didn't think Sibert should have been allowed to take the evidence out of the evidence room and display it, so he showed the article to the Sheriff’s Office's property officer.

“When I went to our property officer and said, 'Hey, you can’t do that,’ and showed him the article, he said, ‘They are not [the Sheriff's Office's] drugs,’” Beeman said.

Beeman went to then-Sheriff Robert Williamson with his concerns. Although Sibert had placed the drugs in the Sheriff’s Office evidence room in glass jars and a lockbox, Beeman said they were not logged into PISTOL — a program for law enforcement agencies to track and manage records. 

According to Beeman, Sibert had stored more than $100,000 worth of drugs. Documentation provided by the Sheriff's Office says they included heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, steroids, marijuana, fentanyl, LSD, ecstasy and crack cocaine.

Sibert told Williamson he kept the drugs from Drug Task Force cases he worked while he was employed at the Warren County Sheriff's Office to use in training exercises. He said the state Board of Pharmacy told him he didn’t need to obtain a license to have the drugs for training.

“It wasn’t like I had these things hidden in my house or my desk drawer or anything like that,” Sibert said in an interview. “They were right there. In fact, if I had had them in my house, he would have never known I had it.”

Sibert said former Warren County sheriffs Lynn Armentrout and Daniel McEathron gave him permission to keep the drugs for training purposes.

“Mr. Sibert came from Warren County and look at the issues they are having in Warren County," Beeman said, referring to a multimillion dollar civil lawsuit recently filed by the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority against numerous defendants, including McEathron, who has since died.

Williamson, who retired in 2015, said in a recent interview that he asked state police to determine why the drugs in Sibert's possession hadn't been destroyed and if any illegal activity occurred. He said he never received a court order stating Sibert could possess the drugs.

———

The state police's response to The Star's FOIA request did state there was an investigation into whether Sibert forged a public document, but it did not state the outcome or what the document was. The dates of the alleged forgery occurred between Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2002, in Frederick and Warren counties. 

Sibert told The Star he did not know what the forgery allegation was in reference to. He said state police destroyed the drugs after the investigation was complete.

The Frederick County commonwealth's attorney said his investigation into Sibert did not include how he came into possession of the drugs, which occurred when Sibert worked in Warren County. Brian Madden, former Warren County commonwealth's attorney, declined to comment because he is now a judge in the 26th Judicial Court. Current Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton said he was unable to determine why Madden chose not to prosecute Sibert.

Beeman speculated that Sibert may not have been prosecuted because he had testified in court cases as a Drug Task Force member and that may call those cases into question.

Local public defender Timothy Coyne, who is not connected to the investigation, said defense attorneys could try to overturn a conviction, seek a writ of actual innocence or a writ of habeas corpus if an officer who had testified against a client ended up being charged of a crime and his or her credibility was called into question.

———

Sibert resigned from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office on Nov 15, 2013, and started his job with the Winchester Sheriff's Office on Jan. 1, 2014. He said Winchester Sheriff Les Taylor, a Republican, offered him a position. He had been earning $77,190 with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. His starting salary with the Winchester Sheriff's Office was $47,777.

Beeman said Williamson asked Sibert to resign, a claim Williamson and Sibert both deny. Williamson said Sibert offered his resignation and that there was no threat of Sibert being terminated. Williamson recently endorsed Sibert for sheriff, despite supporting Millholland in the 2015 election. Williamson said in a Facebook statement in August that Millholland “has not lived up to the expectations that the Sheriff’s Office needs.” 

Asked about the investigation involving his opponent, Millholland said law enforcement agencies are heavily scrutinized and need to be kept to a higher standard. He said not following protocol "makes every police agency in the country look bad.” Millholland said he wasn't aware of the letter when it was sent.

Sibert said Beeman's interest in the investigation is more about Beeman not liking him than anything else. He said Beeman wanted to be captain of investigations in the Frederick County Sheriff's Office when Sibert held the position.

“He hated me for awhile,” Sibert said. “So when he had a chance to jump on that bandwagon, he stuck his foot knee-deep in trying to get my job, trying to get me prosecuted for all this kind of crap.”

Beeman said he is "indifferent" about Sibert.

“Let the voters decide,” Beeman said. 

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(28) comments

Petejohn62

Must be nice people can hide behind the badge and abuse their authority to avoid leagal prosecution in their wrongdoings.must be nice to lie your way out of trouble.funny..just where were these drug seminars taking place???

LG

His bio says he has been an Instructor at TOP GUN for 15 years - Investigation and Prosecution of Drug Cases ("TOP GUN XXVII"), May 19-24, 2019, Williamsburg, VA



TOP GUN is an intensive, workshop-style, interactive training course on the prosecution of drug cases, one of CASC's longest running programs being offered since 1992, now in its 27th year! Attendance is limited to 20 teams, each of which consists of a prosecutor and a law enforcement investigator from a given jurisdiction. This program covers the latest developments in the law, the criminal practices used, and the latest illegal drug types and their usage. This is a five day program.

Per Sheriff Taylor he was taught Drugs by Sibert in Basic Academy also.

LG

Sheriff Millholland,

Since you advised that you personally install almost all your signs please know approximately 25% of your sign locations violate this LAW and you should move them ASAP BEFORE someone gets hurt. At many locations they block sight distance which makes it dangerous and regardless they were placed there illegally. Do you think you are above the law you should be enforcing?

Section 33.2-1224, Code of Virginia, prohibits signs and advertisements within the limits of the highway right of way. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is authorized to remove any sign that is in violation of state code, especially if it interferes presents a safety hazard to motorists, distract drivers or endanger pedestrians. The agency can levy a $100 civil penalty for each sign violation.

Why hasn’t VDOT done their job and removed the signs?

I will ask Richmond VDOT, maybe they aren't politically connected.

Erinanderson

What makes this article even more offensive is that since the Winchester Star and the Northern Virginia Daily is owned by the same company (a newspaper monopoly that should be illegal as it controls the news we get) this false information article is a half page article in the NVD today.

i would like to remind Mr. Millholland that this is America and we get highly offended when people try to control and intimidate us about who we should vote for. i ask you Have you switched vehicle maintenance vendors because they support Sibert? Have you tried to keep a highly trained instructor from being able to teach because he supports Sibert? Have you requested supporters to contact businesses because they have Sibert signs? Did you ask or encourage Mr Beeman to write the secret coney letter to the Star to slander Mr Sibert? We must all stand up and get involved in our elections. “Bystanders who do nothing give bullies permission inadvertent to go on being bullies”

CoDep

Right on sir, direct from many deputies. sheriff said nobody will take cares to Trinity because he supports Sibert. Direct from businesses we’ve been pressured to put up signs for him, Direct from deputies, “people are getting called to the office if they support Sibert or are seen talking to him or a family member has a Sibert sign! From deputies, we are told by leaders to report Sibert sign locations. Small community and families and people talk !

jwbbud

for a LEO, Beeman seems very shady and dishonest

LG

I agree, I even hear that Beeman embellished the amount of the drugs saying it was $100,000 when it was actually only $25,000. and again they were locked up in the evidence room. I hear Mr. Sibert has always been ranked as one of the top instructors for the 1,000's of people he trained since he has been there, done that.

Jasba64

I am so ready to cast my vote to elect Allen Sibert as our next Frederick County Sheriff. Dirty politics by democrat Millholland and his crew, at best.

CoDep

Great comment and here is all anyone needs to read..."Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Ross Spicer cited a lack of illegal activity. " Beeman is not the judge and jury and the decider of all things law. He made this about him to support his boss.

Conservative

Somebody got news about this early and started commenting about it at 1 o'clock this morning? Several comments by 4 am? Politics.

LG

Once again Gary and Patti you are spreading FALSE INFORMATION. Being you are employees working for Millholland I would think you would know the difference between a GAG ORDER issued by a JUDGE and a Cease and desist slander and libel LETTER which is usually mailed by an ATTORNEY.

Gag Order – A JUDGE’s ORDER that a case may not be discussed in public.

A cease and desist slander and libel letter - is usually sent by an ATTORNEY and is a formal request to demand that the recipient stop spreading FALSE INFORMATION immediately. The letter also lets the party know that you will undertake appropriate legal action if they do not stop slander and libel immediately. According to Deputies Mr. Beeman was sent a Letter from an ATTORNEY NOT an ORDER from a JUDGE. (Libel is false information that is published in written form. Slander is false information that is spoken.)

I think the difference between the current election and the one four years ago is Mr. SIBERT will not let County Employees BULLY him or his voters.

CoDep

Anyone working or the Sheriff now that are part of spreading rumors should all be dumped after Al wins.. some of them are afraid of that now. In this small community we hear it all... many deputies that hate what is happening inside there are telling the truth about the threats being made to Al supporters. Deputies being called into the "office" to get yelled at because they or their neighbor has an Al sign... Deputies being asked to report Al's sign locations or to remove signs. Some of the deputies there are being grilled and it gets out to us all.

Jeana0311

The online version of these articles post at midnight. Not a conspiracy.

CoDep

Let's take the emotion out of this and break it down.

1. The anonymously sent letter was written by a currently seated leader at the Sheriff's Office. That Capt. who works for the current Sheriff, campaigns for him and is with him at all public events is saying he did this because people need to know? Let's be honest, It was a campaign tactic. Nobody should believe for a minute this wasn't discussed as a campaign team.

2. Beeman stated he did this letter as a County resident and not a Sheriff's Office employee... YET, the Star spoke to him as a Deputy at the Sheriff's Office.

3. Sibert was NOT prosecuted and he did nothing wrong so why even bring it up except for a political attack?

4. If the former Sheriff and Major and the current City Sheriff have endorsed Al and back him and believe in him doesn't this seem awfully weird that one guy has an axe to grind?

5. Were we paying this Deputy to dig up stuff on Sibert?

6. The Sheriff can't deny knowing about this... if he truly wanted to not spread rumors or push a false narrative he could have told Beeman to leave it alone.

Lots of questions in this but it just seems like this was brought up to cast doubt on a man's 30 year career with something that was found to be nothing.

DL

Heres what we know. Mr. Beeman's letter was written out of self interest, jealousy, and greed.

It is evident that Mr. Milholland was well aware of the letter being written and submitted. I feel certain Milholland probably had reviewed it before being submitted.

While there are many unhappy Deputies who love their jobs, but do not want to risk those jobs to expose the dis satisfaction in the organization.

The Sheriff cannot live forever using his "photo ops" to sway the public.

Steve Cunningham

Remember 4 years ago when anonymous sources also wrote a last minute letter alleging wrongdoing by Mr. Millholland's opponent Terry Bohan that were proven to be false? Seems to be a pattern of campaigning by the Democratic candidate for Sheriff of Frederick County ( masquerading as an independent). Very shady actions for someone wishing to continue to serve in a position of public trust as Frederick County's lead police officer.





Also fascinating how may Millholland campaign signs appear on lots that are for sale and in public right of ways.

NTS-VA

Why in a local election would anyone need to mention Trump and Kavenaugh? What an odd defense.

CoDep

I'd say because it is the same tactic... make an false accusation, the press creates a story and regardless if it is true or not, the opposition hopes it sticks. The tactic is used at all levels of the political spectrum.

anon

Why would anyone, especially a law enforcement officer, want to keep drugs not under lock and key in a proper storage facility. Anything could happen to them at any time. This shows bad judgement.

LG

Please read the article before commenting -- He didn't think Sibert should have been allowed to take the evidence out of the evidence room and display it,

Sibert had placed the drugs in the Sheriff’s Office evidence room in glass jars and a lockbox,

CoDep

Article says they were in the evidence room Thus, under lock and key. Shows great judgement.

FrankJr

This isn’t a popularity contest. After doing my homework on both candidates for sheriff of Frederick county I believe that a debate would be a good place for the voters to see the differences between the two candidates.

Millholland is a big spending democratic politician that has been using our Sheriff’s office resources and personnel for the benefit of his campaign and to make the playboy sheriff looks better; which could be considered a violation of the HATCH act.

I am concerned about gangs in the area and I am very disturbed when Mr Millholland was quoted in the Winchester Star saying “Local law enforcement isn’t going to help round up people who haven’t broken any local laws” “it’s not going to happen in Frederick County,” he said “Not as long as I am Sheriff.”

I guess that means if an illegal MS-13 Gang Member moves here from El Salvador (and there are a lot in the area) but they haven’t been caught yet for victimizing someone then Millholland will not assist to deport him until AFTER someone else is victimized. Hopefully the voters will recognize this threat to their families and remember to vote Nov 5th!

With all the drug and crime problems in Frederick County I believe Mr Sibert has the experience that will help us have a safer community. I know who I am voting for.

delaurel66

Sibert knows how to circumvent the law. As an example he drives a white Suburban that looks just like the vehicles used by the Winchester Sheriffs Office. Painted on the side windows is Sibert for Sheriff. This vehicle is parked in assigned spaces for the Winchester Sheriffs Dept vehicles only. Siberts vehicle has also been spotted parked in the parking lot in front of the court house on an expired meter. Most likely the Winchester Parking Authority does not run the tag or look inside the vehicle to determine it is not a government vehicle. Be glad to post the picture of the illegally parked vehicle.

Teddy R

I am not surprised that the Democratic/independent Sheriff Leonard Millholland had or permitted his right hand man to make these debunked allegations against the Republican Conservative Candidate Allen Sibert. This ploy doesn’t seem like it shows any integrity like Mr. Millholland so proudly displays on his signs; especially just 47 days before the election.

This tactic barely got him into office 4 years ago when his surrogates used the same tactics against Mr. Bohan and other during prior elections.

Here are some actual facts that can be easily checked on the internet. Mr. Millholland is a long term true democrat and he fully endorsed the current democratic administration; Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. It “appears” he only ran as an independent to get elected.

Mr. Millholland also appears to believe in bigger government as evidenced by his $4 million dollar budget increase during his first term. Just this year Millholland requested 50 New Vehicles and 23 New Deputy positions.

I can only say I am glad that we currently have some conservative Republicans on the board of supervisors that have only given him what the department needed NOT everything he requested. It is TIME for a CHANGE and I believe we should let Lenny Millholland RETIRE AGAIN. What do you think?

LG

Four Years ago Mr. Millholland played the victim when a FOIA request the Winchester Star submitted revealed that Lenny actually lost / misplaced a department shotgun he was responsible for. Lenny said at that time it was “dirty politics”.



Here Lenny is just four years later, just before the election orchestrating this smear campaign by one of his high ranking subordinates against Mr. Sibert. I guess Lenny said it right four years ago when he said “Look and see the games that are played especially when someone’s running for office and they’re afraid they’re losing. You pull any stop you can.” I think it is ironic that Lenny even uses the word Integrity in his campaign as I know he lives in a glass house. I think it is time for a change. Your thoughts?

LG

Beeman said -- “Mr. Sibert came from Warren County and look at the issues they are having in Warren County,"

What he forgot to say was that Sheriff Williamson personally recruited Sibert from Warren County Sheriff’s Office 15 years ago.

Sibert has been an instructor at the Top Gun prosecutor and investigators school in Williamsburg for over 15 years and is an expert in both State & Federal court.

It is the oldest trick in the book, Beeman wanted Siberts position so he started the boat rocking in a political organization and went Sibert went to the Winchester City Sheriff’s Office as the Chief Deputy Beeman got it. Now he is afraid if Sibert is elected Sheriff he will not have a job. It doesn't take an Investigator to see what is happening with his secret letter; he is starting to sound like Comey.

LG

Just asking in fairness if the Winchester Star ever gave the Va State Police a FOIA to check for reports on Mr. Millholland, Mr. Beeman or the Frederick County Sheriff's Office.

CoDep

Just half to end this good old boy endless cycle... spending out of control, 4 deputies on a shift ... that’s what they supposedly had yesterday.

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