By Roger McKinney
GALENA, Kan. — A former assistant Cherokee County prosecutor who has faced charges in Missouri and Oklahoma was arrested Monday on possible drug charges after a traffic stop.
A car driven by Jeffrey Pittman, of Carterville, Mo., was stopped for a defective brake light at 12:40 p.m. Monday in the 1300 block of East Seventh Street in Galena, according to Galena police. Pittman was arrested on a warrant from Ottawa County, Okla., and on local traffic charges.
A search warrant for Pittman’s former law office at 702 S. Main St. in Galena was secured in connection with the arrest. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Galena Emergency Service Unit, part of the Police Department, conducted the search. Authorities said they found items suspected to be used in making methamphetamine, along with suspected meth ingredients and suspected drug paraphernalia.
Pittman was assistant Cherokee County attorney from March 26, 2001, to Feb. 14, 2002, for then-County Attorney JoAnna Derfelt.
In 2006, Pittman was convicted in Ottawa County District Court on a misdemeanor charge of possession of meth ingredients. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail but failed to report, resulting in the warrant for his arrest being issued.
Pittman also has been charged with drug offenses and other crimes in Missouri. The Jasper County prosecutor’s office last year deferred for a year a second-degree assault charge against Pittman, who was accused of squeezing the throat of his girlfriend during a dispute.
Last month, he was charged in Jasper County Circuit Court with felony marijuana possession. He also was charged with felony marijuana possession in November 2008.
He was charged in April with felony distribution, manufacturing or production of a controlled substance. He was scheduled to be arraigned on that charge today in Jasper County Circuit Court. Pittman also was set for trial Sept. 9 in Jasper County on a 2008 charge of felony nonpayment of child support.
The Ottawa County case and the Jasper County assault case were both cited in a ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court on March 28, 2008, revoking Pittman’s law license.
“Clearly, the respondent (Pittman) engaged in illegal conduct,” reads one section of the ruling. It also states that Pittman violated his duty to clients to provide competent and diligent representation. He received his Kansas law license in 2001.
There was no word Tuesday on Kansas charges against Pittman. Cherokee County Attorney John Bullard said he expects the Kansas attorney general’s office to file charges. He said that may happen today. He said the case likely would be assigned to a judge from outside Cherokee County.
Pittman remained in the Cherokee County Jail on Tuesday. No bond amount had been set.
Galena police Chief Larry Delmont said more arrests are possible in connection with Jeffrey Pittman’s case.
By Roger McKinney
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