A federal grand jury is expected to return indictments today against several individuals in connection with an investigation into past corruption in the Hamilton County Jail.
Former Hamilton County Deputy Lonnie Hood testified for hours before the grand jury in April and again in May and was expected to provide additional testimony in the investigation today.
Hood was charged with conspiring to launder money, distribute steroids in the jail, and to extort $50 for packs of cigarettes from inmates.
He pleaded guilty to between five and seven of more than 20 indictment counts against him earlier this year.
Deputy Chief Ron Gilbert, whose scheduled appearance before the grand jury in May was delayed until this month, also is expected to make a grand jury appearance.
Lonnie Hood is scheduled to be sentenced in July. James Hood, brother of Lonnie, and five other co-defendants charged in the 28-count indictment returned here last December have all entered guilty pleas in the case and decided to cooperate with agents and prosecutors in the investigation.
All defendants sentenced in the case thus far have received reduced sentences after prosecutors filed motions stating they had provided "substantial assistance."
The December 1997 indictment of Lonnie Hood and six co-defendants in one case and of career criminal Harvey Murray in another culminated a federal probe into corrupt activity in the jail that began in 1995.
Hamilton County Sheriff John Cupp asked for a federal investigation into possible illegal activities in the jail within months of taking office in September 1994.
A federal investigation was launched in August 1995 by agents of the FBI and DEA into drug activities within the Silverdale Workhouse and at the Hamilton County Jail.
The magnitude of the investigation at Silverdale resulted in the passing of the jail portion of the probe from the FBI's blue-collar crime section to the white-collar crimes division in late 1996.
Agents of the DEA and IRS also joined the jail investigation in late 1996.
A raid/search of the Silverdale Workhouse, involving hundreds of local and federal law enforcement officers, took place in mid-December 1996.
Several indictments and convictions were obtained in the workhouse probe. FBI agents from the white-collar crimes section quietly continued their investigation into the county jail here for more than a year before indictments were returned in the jail probe in December 1997.
There were statements and questions in the sentencing hearing of Murray last week to the effect that Murray claimed Lonnie Hood obtained more than $10,000 in proceeds from an insurance fraud scam.
Sources report that a fraudulent insurance claim in the early 1990s was what first triggered interest in Hood and led to a look at activities now under investigation.