Benton County deputy resigns after steroids found in home

Tri-City HeraldMay 5, 2014 

— Authorities found anabolic steroids, syringes and recipes for mixing steroids at the home of a Benton County sheriff’s deputy, officials told the Herald Monday.

Detectives believe Shane Benningfield, 35, may have bought the illegal drugs and medical supplies used to inject them from another country, Sheriff Steve Keane said.

Benningfield, who had been with the department since 2003, resigned early Monday in lieu of being fired, Keane said.

The Benton County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case to determine if criminal drug charges will be filed.

Keane said Benningfield refused to answer questions about the drugs before resigning. He was not jailed.

Detectives found the steroids last week in a safe at Benningfield’s house, Keane said. Authorities also found products used to mask steroid use and receipts, along with the syringes and recipes.

“There were lots of different types of what we believe to be anabolic steroids there,” Keane said.

Benningfield apparently is a body builder and training for an upcoming competition, the sheriff said.

The investigation began after Benningfield’s former girlfriend accused him of steroid use, domestic violence and inappropriate conduct while on duty, Keane said.

Keane said the woman knew specifics about Benningfield’s steroid use, including the names of the drugs and how they were used. “She told detectives she helped inject him,” Keane said.

Detectives were able to get some of Benningfield’s financial records, which showed he bought medical supplies that could be associated with steroid use, Keane said. After seeing the purchases, detectives thought Benningfield might be in possession of steroids.

Investigators then got warrants to search Benningfield’s home and for samples of his blood and urine, Keane said.

The samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for analysis.

Benningfield was placed on paid administrative leave the day his house was searched, sheriff’s officials said. The amount of steroids found in the house were for personal use and investigators do not think Benningfield was trying to sell the drugs, Keane said.

Also, Benningfield’s ex-girlfriend, Jessica Clemmons, filed a petition April 24 in Benton County Superior Court seeking a protection order, claiming he threatened to have her killed if she ever told sheriff’s officials about the “illegal activity” she witnessed.

The 25-year-old mother of two said she’d been in a relationship with Benningfield since July 2012, but they broke up in January. Her petition claimed he “progressively became very agitated and controlling intimately, emotionally, as well as mentally.”

She was granted a temporary protection order, but Judge Sal Mendoza Jr. dismissed the order on Friday citing a lack of information.

She had claimed he continued to contact her and follow her even though she’d told him to stop.

Her petition claimed Benningfield said he’d have her “taken care of,” and he knew people that could kill her from his experience working with the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force.

“Shane’s implication was he could pay to have me killed because he wouldn’t tolerate losing his job, career, lifestyle, and if he was to go to jail he wanted revenge to satisfy his devastation,” her petition said.

She also said he was sleeping while on duty, but investigators found no evidence that was true.

Keane said Benningfield could lose his certification to work in law enforcement.

-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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