LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – A former Bullitt County special deputy who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In addition, Chris Mattingly is cooperating with prosecutors in the criminal case of former Bullitt County Sheriff Dave Greenwell, who is charged with obstructing an investigation and aiding Mattingly.
Mattingly, who also must pay a $10,000 fine, has already served about two years behind bars and is expected to be released in the next six to nine months.
After he has finished his prison sentence, Mattingly will be on supervised release for five years. He is also not to have any contact with Bullitt County law enforcement who investigated him.
Mattingly was accused of being involved in a Kentucky drug cell that had ties to Mexico and distributed drugs and large sums of cash across the country.
In November, he pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiring to distribute more than a ton of marijuana and methamphetamine. The investigation began in 2014 more than 2,200 miles away when Mattingly was heard talking on a wiretap investigators had on a drug cartel in California.
Among the evidence prosecutors would have used at trial were wiretap recordings, financial records, information from a confidential informant and testimony from law enforcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Fentress told U.S. District Court Judge David Hale that Mattingly was not the leader of the cartel, had no other criminal history and has been “cooperative.”
Defense attorney Brian Butler told reporters they were pleased with the plea agreement and sentencing, arguing that the media coverage of Mattingly has wrongfully painted him as an "international drug dealer" who threatened the life of at least one investigating officer.
Fentress and the defense attorneys spoke off the record at the bench as to whether Mattingly’s sentence should be enhanced for the alleged threats. It appeared the judge, acting on recommendation of Fentress, did not enhance the sentence.
Investigators had accused Mattingly of plotting to kill Capt. Mike Halbleib of the Bullitt County Drug Task Force, which had lead the investigation.
Fentress would not comment on these allegations after the sentencing.
Butler said defense attorneys have consistently maintained that Mattingly “never threatened any police officers.”
In court, Fentress also acknowledged that marijuana was not seized. However, police did seize hundreds of thousands of dollars they claim were linked to Mattingly.
In one example of the wiretap evidence, prosecutors say Mattingly talked with his contact in California on March 17, 2014. Mattingly discussed cockfighting and the blades used for the fights. And Mattingly said his courier would come to California with money the next day.
During at least part of the time Mattingly was under investigation, he was serving as a special deputy to the Bullitt County Sheriff’s Department.
Special deputies are appointed by the sheriff and have the same powers as a regular deputy, with some exceptions, such as not being allowed to make arrests in domestic violence cases.
He worked as a special deputy in 2013 and 2014, the department has said.
After the sentencing, Butler said, “I don’t think you all will ever see Chris Mattingly in the court system again.”
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