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September 19--  The police chief in Lyons is under arrest on drug charges and two other felonies.

Police Chief Ricky Newsome was called to the Toombs County Sheriff's Office Monday morning and informed of the charges by Middle Judicial Circuit District Attorney Hayward Altman.

"He has been charged with distribution of drugs, specifically marijuana, violation of oath of office and theft by conversion.  This is the result of an investigation which has been going on for four months under the direction of the Georgia Regional Drug Enforcement Office, GBI Region 12, the East Central Georgia Drug Task Force, the Toombs County Sheriff's office as well as the District Attorney's office," Altman says.


Newsome is led from the Toombs County Courthouse in handcuffs after his first appearance hearing.  

The DA described Newsome's reaction to the charges as one of "relief and an understanding that he had been doing things which he should not have done." Newsome started at the Lyons police department in 1996 as a detective and was later promoted to chief.

Altman said the investigation started when law enforcement got information "from someone in the community."  He reports no other Lyons police officers have been implicated "at this time."

A first appearance hearing was held before Judge Bobby Reeves Monday afternoon where Newsome inquired about when he could apply for bond.  Meanwhile, he's being held in an out-of-county jail "for his own safety," according to the District Attorney.

Lyons officials appointed assistant Police Chief Danny Coleman as interim police chief and called a meeting of the city council to consider what actions to take.  At the meeting, the council voted to ask retired Lyons Chief Jack Caves to take the job for an indefinite time until a new chief can be found.  City manager Rick Hartley says Caves has told him he will help in any way he can.