MARIETTA, Oklahoma — Boss Hogg lives!
The former sheriff of Love County in Oklahoma has pleaded guilty to corruption charges stemming from letting people smoke meth in his home and not arresting his son’s fugitive girlfriend while she stayed with the family but slapping the cuffs on her after they broke up.
Joe Russell, 63, resigned from office last October after serving as sheriff since 2001. Russell was arrested in July and booked into his own prison on a variety of corruption charges, mostly revolving around him looking the other way as people took drugs in his house while he was home on two occasions in the spring.
He was also accused of his son’s girlfriend, Sara Bamburg, who had multiple warrants out for her arrest, stay at his house for a couple of weeks last year.
She told investigators that the sheriff’s son, George “Willie” Russell had told her “As long as you are here dating me, you are not going to get arrested.”
Sure enough, when the couple broke up a short while later and she moved in with someone else, she was arrested.
The younger Russell was sentenced to federal prison last year for selling meth to an undercover agent.
Russell’s office had been the focus of an FBI probe related to his son’s conviction and an episode where the sheriff allowed his nephew, James Conn Nipp, who had been arrested for leading cops on a high-speed chase and has been eyed in the disappearance of two local teens, meet with relatives unsupervised in a room where evidence in his case was being kept.
Nipp had since been sentenced to 10 years for the police chase.
Russell pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willful omission to perform a duty and was sentenced to one-year on probation.