Authorities in Tennessee say a mayor only days away from a reelection vote has been arrested on suspicion of hatching a plan to manufacture illegal narcotics.
According to ABC News, Red Boiling Springs Mayor Joel Coe is expected to face criminal charges including one count of conspiracy and one count of tampering with evidence.
He was arrested on Thursday, just two days before he would square off against two opponents at the ballot box.
According to a statement from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, Coe allegedly made an attempt to procure a pill press he intended to use in his drug-production scheme. His alleged plan was to use heroin and fentanyl in the pills.
An affidavit filed in connection with the investigation claims he had been engaged in electronic communications with another person about buying the machine.
The messages allegedly detailed his plan to keep the operation clandestine, including the use of trash bags to hide the pill press. He reportedly had trash bags in his possession when he arrived at the spot where he believed the pill press was located.
Police say officers were already there and confronted Coe, who reacted by deleting the messages.
He was jailed with bail set at $125,000, according to WCYB. Vice Mayor Joe Hill assured locals that “the business of the city will go on as scheduled.”
[Featured image: Joel Coe, City of Red Boiling Springs]