Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former sheriff of St. Clair County was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday, July 22, for stealing property recovered in criminal cases and for selling a stolen firearm.
“Today’s indictment alleges that the former sheriff treated the county’s evidence room like his personal tool shed, cheating the taxpayers and citizens of St. Clair County,” Dickinson said. “No one is above the law. When the county’s chief law enforcement officer violates the very law he took an oath to uphold, he will be held accountable.”
Ronald E. Snodgrass, 46, El Dorado Springs, was charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield. Snodgrass served three terms as the elected sheriff in St. Clair County, from Jan. 1, 2001, through Dec. 31, 2012. He lost his bid for reelection in 2012.
Under state law, any property seized by the sheriff’s department must be disposed of by a court order that authorizes the return of the property to a claimant. If property is unclaimed, it must be disposed of through a public sale (with the proceeds deposited in the county treasury), destroyed or forfeited to the state. State law did not authorize Snodgrass to convert unclaimed property seized in criminal cases to his own personal use.
Tuesday’s indictment charges Snodgrass with two counts of theft concerning programs that receive federal funds. (During Snodgrass’s tenure as sheriff, the U.S. Marshals Service contracted with St. Clair County to house federal inmates at the St. Clair County Jail.) Snodgrass allegedly stole a John Deere zero turn mower on Sept. 8, 2009. Snodgrass allegedly stole a 2009 Polaris Ranger UTV on Sept. 29, 2012.
The federal indictment also charges Snodgrass with selling a stolen firearm. Between Aug. 7, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012, Snodgrass allegedly sold a Remington .22-caliber rifle that he knew had been stolen.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Snodgrass to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including a money judgment of $16,000.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull II. It was investigated by the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.