Pasco deputy accused of framing suspect, fired

- The Pasco County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday a deputy was fired amidst a criminal investigation into allegations he planted drug evidence on a man the deputy placed under arrest. 

Sheriff Chris Nocco detailed the allegations against now-former deputy Stephen Leblanc in a news conference Tuesday. 

The alleged incident under investigation happened in November, 2015 during the arrest of Thomas Parisi. 

The sheriff said Leblanc was assigned to patrol the neighborhood where Parisi lived. Parisi and Leblanc became aware of each other over time. 

At one point, Parisi spray-painted several phrases on a trailer and wall, including "Leblanc for sheriff" and "Justice for Brooklyn," possibly in reference to a missing New Port Richey woman.

Sheriff Nocco said Leblanc arrested Parisi in reference to the graffiti. During the arrest, Leblanc is accused of telling a nearby resident, James Holder, to go get some "stuff" - which appears to be in reference to drug evidence from Holder.

At that time, Holder is accused of bringing drug paraphernalia, including spoons and a syringe, from his home and putting the items in Parisi's bag.

Sheriff Nocco said the apparent purpose was to frame Parisi, allowing Leblanc to file additional charges.

However, Leblanc returned the bag to Parisi's home, with the drug items still inside, and did not file additional drug charges against him.

Leblanc and Holder are under active criminal investigation regarding the incident.

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