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McHenry undersheriff accused of tipping off businessman

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 9:11 a.m. CST

(MCT) — A sergeant in the McHenry County Sheriff's department has accused the undersheriff of improperly tipping off a Crystal Lake businessman that his company had been named in an investigation into alleged marijuana trafficking.

In court papers filed Tuesday, Sgt. John Koziol is asking for a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation into his claims against Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, who is running to become sheriff in the 2014 election.

Zinke issued a statement calling Koziol a disgruntled employee and said his assertions are “false and being made out of spite.” Zinke said neither he nor anyone he’s associated with are under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Koziol stated in the court filing that, on July 9, he was working with a DEA task force whose supervisor, named only as John Doe, told him the DEA had intercepted a truck carrying 4,000 pounds of marijuana destined for a manufacturing company in Crystal Lake.

After getting approval from his supervisor, Koziol said he told Zinke about the investigation.

Koziol later learned the investigation was bigger than at first believed and involved allegations that trucks had shipped 60,000 pounds of marijuana to the Crystal Lake company and two other locations over the course of 10 months, according to the court document.

On July 13, outside the McHenry County Government Center in Woodstock, Koziol said he saw Zinke talking to the business owner and Zinke said he told the man “everything.”

Koziol stated that he was “stunned” by Zinke’s alleged disclosure of confidential information and felt the case had been compromised.

Koziol asserts that Zinke violated sheriff’s department orders against disclosing confidential investigations and against allowing personal relationships to influence decisions.

In his statement denying Koziol’s claims, Zinke said Koziol had recently been transferred to another job and was unhappy with that decision. Zinke said Koziol’s claims could jeopardize the DEA’s investigation into drug trafficking, which Zinke said is active.

“The complaint against me is not only erroneous and without merit, it also puts DEA officers in jeopardy during their ongoing investigation of narcotic trafficking,” Zinke wrote.

Neither Koziol, the businessman nor a DEA spokesman could not be reached late Tuesday. Koziol’s attorney, Jonathan Nye would not discuss Koziol’s recent job change.

Zinke has ties to the company in question. His campaign committee, Citizens to Elect Zinke, uses the same address as the company, and the company has donated to his campaign for sheriff.

Nye asked that the request for a special prosecutor be considered by a judge Thursday.

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