Former trooper’s arrest on evidence-tampering leads to case dismissals

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A former Department of Public Safety officer was arrested for tampering with evidence last week, which led to several cases being dismissed and others that he had investigated being thrown into limbo.

The Times Record-News reported that ex-DPS trooper Chad Harden, 45, of Iowa Park, was arrested on felony charges of drug possession and tampering with evidence and booked into Wichita County Jail on Thursday. He was released later that day after posting bond.

DPS spokesman Sgt. Dan Buesing released a statement that said Texas Rangers have been investigating Harden for allegedly mishandling evidence since June, when Harden was suspended from his job.

Buesing said Harden, who worked as a trooper for a decade, resigned from the agency on Tuesday. He said that Harden’s duties included interrupting the drug trade in the county, seizing narcotics and money along U.S. Highway 287.

Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie presented the findings of the investigation to a grand jury, which handed down the indictments against Harden on Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

The Record-News wrote that court documents show the DA’s office filed motions in August to dismiss at least five criminal cases because the Rangers’ investigation found Harden’s eyewitness testimony could not be trusted. They include three cases of drug possession, fraudulent use or possession of identifying information and money laundering.

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