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Inquiry Launched After Convicts Alerted To Sweep

By Associated Press

Lexington, KY – The Fayette County Sheriff's office says it has launched an inquiry into whether deputies tipped off sex offenders before a federal sweep of the area last month.

The Sheriff's spokeswoman, Jennifer Miller, acknowledged the internal investigation to the Lexington Herald-Leader after the newspaper filed an open records request for documents from Lexington police that detail the allegations.

The documents show that some detectives heard convicts say they were told when the checks would occur.

The two-day sweep was organized by the U.S. Marshals Service to make sure 262 sex offenders were in compliance with federal and state laws, but several other agencies helped.

Three Lexington police detectives reported that sex offenders told them sheriff's deputies had alerted them to the sweep. Lexington Detective Trevor Welch said three offenders on one street "knew we were coming because they were told by a sheriff's deputy a couple days prior to our assignment."

Telling sex offenders about a routine check doesn't appear to be against the law, but U.S. Marshal Loren "Squirrel" Carl said it is a "concern."

"Every time we go out, we're in harm's way. That's our job and we know that," Carl said. "But if someone tips a convicted felon off ... they're prepared where we're caught off guard."

Carl and spokesmen from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office in Lexington declined to comment on whether they are investigating the allegation, citing internal policies.