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Former Michigan police chief sentenced to prison in drug theft

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Ford Fireworks in Detroit, Michigan sheriff's deputy killed and more top stories 04:00

A former Michigan police chief who admitted stealing drugs from her department was sentenced Monday to more than three years in prison.

Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Brickley said Tressa Beltran tarnished the image of law enforcement.

"The reverberations from what you did will carry on long after," the judge said.

Beltran resigned as police chief in Hartford in southwestern Michigan in 2023, six months after investigators searched department offices. She admitted stealing prescription drugs, especially hydrocodone, from a disposal box.

Beltran pleaded guilty in April to drug possession and using a computer to commit a crime. She was ordered to permanently surrender her Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards license, which prohibits her from working as a police officer in Michigan.

"I am trying to make myself better, and I do think that putting me in prison is not the answer. But I'm just sorry," Beltran told the court.

She will be eligible for parole after roughly 3 1/2 years in prison.

"Today's sentence delivered a clear message that no one is above the law," Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. "I commend the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office for their diligent investigative efforts that led to the removal of Ms. Beltran from her position as police chief, ensuring she could no longer jeopardize public health. My office will continue to pursue public integrity and hold accountable those who abuse their positions of power." 

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