SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A former King County sheriff’s deputy and K-9 handler is accused of keeping cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and Ecstasy tablets he’d been given as training aids for his dog, Kuva.
Deputy Kristopher Kizer, who resigned from the sheriff’s office in February and moved to Arkansas, was arrested Wednesday morning at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Star City, where he’d gone to inquire about a job working with a narcotics task force for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, said King County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Strachan.
“His stupidity was exceeded only by his nerve,” Strachan said of Kizer, 30.
Investigators also are trying to determine if Kizer, who was hired by the sheriff’s office in September 2005, ever worked while under the influence of drugs.
Strachan said two King County sheriff’s detectives flew to Arkansas on Tuesday, where U.S. Marshals had Kizer under surveillance at the request of officials here. Kizer was booked into the Lincoln County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft, pending his extradition to Washington, Strachan said.
“The minute we became aware there was an issue with the missing narcotics, we very aggressively pursued it as a criminal case,” Strachan said. “It’s very, very important to us, when a violation of the public trust occurs, that we pay full attention to it because public trust means everything to us.”
The felony theft warrant was issued this week, and Kizer was charged with first-degree theft in King County Superior Court.
According to the probable-cause statement filed in the case, Kizer received cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and Ecstasy from the Bellevue Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office with a combined street value of approximately $44,000. Additionally, Kizer is suspected of failing to turn over marijuana seized in a traffic stop, the statement says.
Asked if Kizer is suspected of using the narcotics given to him to help train his K-9 partner, Strachan said: “That would seem to be a reasonable conclusion, but we don’t know that for a fact yet.”
The criminal investigation outlined in the probable-cause statement paints a picture of a young deputy in crisis: His father was murdered in North Carolina in May, his six-year marriage was ending, and his personal problems were apparently impacting his work performance.
The probable-cause statement, authored by Sgt. Kathleen Larson, outlines the investigation into Kizer’s conduct over the past 18 months:
In October 2009, Kizer was transferred from patrol to the Eastside Narcotics Taskforce, a multiagency unit based at the Bellevue Police Department.
Later that month, Kizer was issued cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $23,897 from the drug inventory stored at the Bellevue office of the Eastside Narcotics Taskforce, the statement says. His sergeant advised him that the drugs were not to be taken home or stored in his patrol car, and Kizer showed the sergeant the safe under his desk where he’d placed the drugs.
After complaining that the narcotics were “getting old,” Kizer was issued crack, powder cocaine, methamphetamine and 135 Ecstasy pills in July 2010 from the King County Sheriff’s property-management unit, the statement says.
Kizer violated policy by failing to return the narcotics he got in October 2009 to Bellevue police, according to the statement. Though some of the Bellevue drugs were later recovered from the safe under Kizer’s desk, there was no sign of the narcotics issued to Kizer from the sheriff’s office.
Kizer resigned from the sheriff’s office Feb. 7 and moved to Arkansas to be with his family, the statement says. Kizer’s estranged wife was moving out of the house the couple had shared in Milton when her father contacted sheriff’s officials March 1, after finding a cooler in the rafters of the garage, the statement says.
Inside the cooler, investigators found a bag of marijuana along with other plastic bags and containers with “coke” and “meth” written on them in black marker, the statement says. “A number of bags recovered listed as containing narcotics were empty,” it says.