Tunica County Sheriff Jerry Ellington was arrested Wednesday on federal charges of extortion and bribery. U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee and FBI Special Agent in Charge Edwin Worthington said the charges against Ellington involved alleged kickbacks in the sheriff's office and extortion in the bail bond business.
The four-count indictment was returned Monday by a federal grand jury. An employee at the Tunica County Sheriff's Office had no comment about Ellington's arrest. It comes more than a month after 17 deputies claimed in a federal lawsuit that Ellington had threatened their jobs if they did not support his re-election bid.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Oxford, claimed Ellington told the deputies their employment depended on purchasing $25.00 tickets for a May campaign banquet and providing other assistance to his campaign.
The lawsuit said several deputies bought the tickets "in fear of losing their jobs.''
Ellington is in his first term and took office after his elected predecessor pleaded guilty to extortion. Ellington has four opponents in the Aug. 5 Democratic Party primary.