By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - A suspended Warren County sheriff's deputy was released on $20,000 bond Wednesday after being indicted on seven drug-related charges.
Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said her office had asked that a $750,000 bond be set for Michael Moore, 33, of Deerfield Township.
However, Hutzel said, "it's understandable" that Magistrate Andy Hasselbach set the lower bond because Moore surrendered at sheriff's headquarters Tuesday after learning he had been indicted.
Moore was freed Wednesday morning after spending the night in the county jail and appearing in Common Pleas Court. His attorney, Bill Fowler, pleaded not guilty on Moore's behalf but declined comment after Wednesday's hearing.
Moore faces three misdemeanor and four felony charges - including possession of methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant. Authorities said they have evidence that Moore cooked the drug in his garage and in a vacant garage at the Mallard Crossing complex, where he lives and served as a security guard.
Until the drug-related allegations against Moore arose, Sheriff Tom Ariss said, he had received comments about Moore's "outstanding" performance as a deputy. Moore was assigned to Deerfield Township and also had served as a school resource officer for the Warren County Career Center. Officials at the school were "exuberant" in their praise of Moore, Ariss said.
Moore went on an unpaid leave in August because of a back injury, Ariss said, and in the midst of that leave, Moore tested positive for marijuana use. A court record also says Moore had been undergoing drug rehabilitation.
Authorities did not investigate Moore's activities until Frederick Purcell Jr., 31, of Verona, was arrested Dec. 31 on charges that he was driving a mobile meth lab, requiring police to close a stretch of Interstate 71 for several hours on New Year's Eve. Purcell told police he had just delivered 4 grams of meth to Moore that evening - and that he and the deputy had cooked meth together previously.
Purcell, whose bond was set at $500,000, continues to be held in the Hamilton County Justice Center.
He pleaded not guilty to a two-count indictment: illegal manufacture of drugs, and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
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