Drug task force commander is facing theft by swindle charges

Staff Writer
Redwood Falls Gazette

Jeffrey Michael Morris, 40, of Hutchinson, is facing two felony counts of theft by swindle as well as a count of gross misdemeanor misconduct of a public officer or employee.

The allegations Morris is facing were outlined in a complaint filed in Renville County Eighth District Court earlier this month and stem from events when the defendant was serving as the commander for the Brown-Lyon-Red-wood-Renville Drug Task Force.

An investigation was initiated by the Renville County Sheriff’s Department when it requested assistance related to an internal affairs investigation of the defendant. The complaint states the suspicion was that the defendant was not working all of the hours he was claiming on his time card. 

In addition to working for the drug task force, Morris was also employed by the Renville County Sheriff’sDepartment The investigation was conducted by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department to avoid any possible conflicts.

The investigator obtained records from the defendant’s work cell phone, computer, radios, key cards and warrants.

Among the evidence collected as part of the investigation was GPS data that allegedly indicates the defendant would not leave his home in Hutchinson during days when he claimed to be working.

The investigation included information gathered from a time period of August 2019 through March 2020.

The evidence also demonstrated during a period of time from Aug. 16, 2019 and Jan. 27, 2020 when the defendant allegedly reported a total of 214 hours when the actual work performed was 47 hours.

The complaint states that resulted in the defendant being paid $7,054.01 in salary for work not performed.

The defendant is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.

The penalty for each of the felony charges is up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The McLeod County Attorney’s office is handling the prosecution of the case to avoid any possible conflicts.