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Ex Colo. sheriff Patrick Sullivan arrested in drugs-for-sex sting, held in jail named for himself

Former Arapahoe County, Colo. sheriff, Patrick Sullivan CBS Colorado

(CBS/AP) CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Former Colorado sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan was known for his no-nonsense style, his heroism in saving two deputies and for his concern about teenage drug use. He was even named the nation's sheriff of the year.

Today, he's accused of offering methamphetamine in exchange for sex from a male acquaintance, and he's locked up in the jail that bears his name, the Patrick Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility. 

CBS Denver reports the 68-year-old ex-lawman's arrest came after an investigation that began in mid-November.  Sullivan is being held on a half-million-dollar bond.

Contacts familiar with the case say several informants gave information attesting that Sullivan was connected to the distribution and use of meth.  The arrest affidavit said confidential informants who alerted police to the case claimed Sullivan was dealing the drug, and would only sell it if they had sex with him. In order to investigate further, deputies set up a sting at a home, during which Sullivan allegedly agreed to meet a male informant and provide him drugs in exchange for sex.

Investigators and Drug Task Force members arrested Sullivan and say he was carrying two bags of meth.

The current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said, "The allegations of criminal behavior involving Pat Sullivan are extraordinarily disturbing. While the arrest of the former sheriff is very troubling, no one, and particularly a former peace officer is above the law. This is the most shocking thing I've ever been involved with."

Sullivan is expected to face a felony drug charge and Robinson said he predicts more criminal charges against Sullivan.

According to CBS SDenver, in the last several years Sullivan posted bond many times for suspects in drug cases who were held in jail.

In 2007 and 2008, Sullivan actively participated in state and local meth task forces, created to help the state deal with the drug problem.

Sullivan was the Arapahoe County Sheriff from 1984 until his retirement in 2002. His work in homeland security was praised, and he was named Sheriff of the Year by the National Sheriff's Association in 2001, and for his work as law enforcement chairman of the Colorado George W. Bush for President committee. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 by the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Now, the sheriff's got some explainin' to do.