Did politics delay bust of Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law?

The union for Alaska State Troopers say the case was stalled so it wouldn't affect Sarah Palin's run for the vice-presidency.

Published January 5, 2009 3:00PM (EST)

The union that represents Alaska State Troopers says politics played a role in the investigation of Sherry Johnston, Bristol Palin's future mother-in-law, and that there was one important delay in the case due to the timing of the election.

Sherry Johnston, the mother of Palin's fiance, Levi Johnston, was arrested last month on charges that amount to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, namely oxycontin, a prescription drug sometimes known as "hillbilly heroin." But one local drug investigator, and his union, says the case could have gone faster. Kyle Young, an investigator involved in the case, sent an e-mail to the union's members last week in which he said that once the political implications became apparent, the investigation "was not allowed to progress in a normal fashion."

"[T]he search warrant service WAS delayed because of the pending election and the Mat Su Drug Unit and the case officer were not the ones calling the shots," Young wrote.

Commanders like Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Joe Masters deny the charges. "Masters said Young made assumptions in his e-mail and didn't know what was going on behind the scenes to make sure the investigation was normal. Troopers Director [Audie] Holloway said the higher ups were indeed scrutinizing everything in the Johnston investigation -- but only to ensure that it was conducted just like any other similar case would be," the Anchorage Daily News reports.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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