ABC agent: Director supports legalizing marijuanaPosted: Updated:
Interviews conducted by the TBI into suspected drugs found at the home of the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission included an ABC agent, who said his director supports legalized marijuana.
The Channel 4 I-team first exposed last week how suspected marijuana was found at the home of Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Director Danielle Elks last October, but there was never a drug investigation.
Along with enforcing alcohol rules, the ABC also investigates marijuana.
Employees of the ABC approached the I-Team, upset about the suspected drugs and lack of investigation.
"I grant you, if that had happened to any of us, we would have been made an example of. We would have been in headlines in the papers, the news, and everywhere else," one employee said.
Two Dickson County deputies and a THP trooper came to Elks' home to notify her that her husband, famed musician Joel Digregorio, had died in a car crash.
According to a police summary, the front door was locked, the backdoor was open a bit and the officers went inside to make sure there wasn't an intruder and to check on her welfare.
That's when the deputies found the suspected marijuana and rolling papers in the kitchen, along with a sticker for the governor's marijuana eradication task force, and pointed it out to the THP trooper.
The TBI later began investigating how the suspected marijuana discovery was handled, and conducted interviews with an ABC agent and two THP troopers who had knowledge of the suspected drugs at Elks' house.
Those interviews were obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team, and in his interview, the ABC agent said he initially complained to the FBI.
In the interview, the agent said, "Danielle Elks has made it abundantly clear that she does not want the ABC to be part of the marijuana eradication program, and she often expresses her views in support of legalizing marijuana."
The Channel 4 I-Team is not identifying the agent, because he works undercover.
In a statement to the Channel 4 I-Team, Elks wrote, "I do not believe marijuana should be legalized and resent the implication otherwise."
The interviews with the agent and the THP troopers revealed that along with a small amount of suspected marijuana and rolling papers, a cell phone was found at Elks' home, and some of the contacts in it had the word "weed" next to them.
The ABC agent said when he heard of the contacts in the cell phone, "I took it as a list of drug dealers."
It is unclear who the phone belonged to and the suspected drugs were never recovered.
The statement from Elks read:
"Television reports have recently been published regarding allegations of contraband found on the night of my husband's death. These allegations are based upon hearsay and innuendo. No evidence has been submitted, documented or substantiated. These continued allegations are irresponsible and unprofessional, and are made with improper motives behind them by the people making the assertions."
Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, said he has doubts about Elks' story, and before the drug allegations surfaced, introduced a bill taking away ABC's power to eradicate marijuana.
"(Suspected drugs) in the kitchen, on the table, with rolling papers, I just have a hard time swallowing the fact that here she is, the director of the governor's task force on marijuana eradication," Ketron said.
In the statement, Elks said, "I am adamantly opposed to a proposed bill that would remove the TABC's authority to enforce these laws. The TABC has consistently been in the forefront in criminal investigations and arrests involving this controlled substance."
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