FBI, TBI raid Rutherford sheriff’s office in corruption investigation

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and FBI have executed search warrants at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and the sheriff’s home.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said in a statement on Thursday that the warrants are part of an ongoing investigation into possible public corruption involving multiple targets within the sheriff’s department.

DeVine said he couldn’t discuss specifics because of the continuing investigation.

Last month, the TBI confirmed it was looking into connections between Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold and his family members who own companies that sell electronic cigarettes and snacks to inmates at the county jail.

Further from the Daily News Journal:

The FBI also confirmed the agency is conducting a search in Marietta, Georgia, related to this case.

JailCigs is based in Marietta, according to Georgia state records. Arnold’s aunt and uncle, John and Judy Vanderveer, are listed as owners of the company. Chief Deputy of Administration and Finance Joe Russell is also listed as an owner of the company, according to records on the Georgia secretary of state’s website.

Russell was placed on administrative leave with pay in late April after District Attorney General Jennings Jones asked for an investigation into the company’s dealings with Rutherford County Jail. Arnold has since suspended that contract.

The home of Chief Deputy of Administration Joe Russell was also searched on Thursday morning, Niland said.

TBI and FBI officials arrived at the Sheriff’s Office at 6:30 a.m. to start serving the warrants, Niland said.

Investigators remained on the scene hours later carrying bags out of the office on New Salem Highway.