According to District Attorney John Wampler, formal charges were filed Thursday in Jackson County District Court against two Altus Police Officers arrested last week. Charged were officers Russell J. Hansell, 41, and Jose A. Arce, 40.
Hansel has been charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, one count of Knowingly Receiving Stolen Property, and two counts of Attempted Knowingly Receiving Stolen Property, all felonies. He faces a maximum punishment, if convicted on all counts, of 20 years in prison. Hansel remains incarcerated in Jackson County jail.
Arce has been charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony and three counts of Attempted Knowingly Receiving Stolen Property, all felonies. He faces a maximum punishment, if convicted on all counts, of 17 1/2 years in prison. Arce is being held in Greer County jail.
Jackson County Sheriff Roger Levick said that Arce is being held in Greer County for his own safety. “I just don’t have enough room in the Jackson County jail to keep Arce and Hansel separate from other prisoners that might want to do them harm.”
Both officers made their initial appearance before Special District Judge Brad Leverett Thursday afternoon. Bond was continued for Hansel at $500,000, and for Arce at $250,000.
According to Wampler, the two officers are alleged to have purchased certain items of personal property from Altus Police Detective Bill Perkins believing the items to be stolen property. Detective Perkins was, in fact, working undercover with the FBI who were investigating allegations of public corruption by officers Hansel and Arce.
The first alleged purchase of property was on Oct. 23, 2012, when Arce bought tools he believed had been stolen. On Oct. 24, 2012, both Hansel and Arce allegedly purchased tools they believed had been stolen. Again on Feb. 10, 2013, Arce purchased tools from Detective Perkins that he believed were stolen. All of these tools were not stolen, but had been furnished by the FBI to Detective Perkins for the controlled purchases.
Also on Feb. 13, Hansel allegedly purchased several items of jewelry and tools, and on Feb. 14, received 14 handguns, some of which had serial numbers removed, and one of which was in fact stolen. Both the jewelry and handguns were property that had been recovered at various times by the Altus Police Department and were being held in the property room. District Attorney Wampler says that all of the handguns were recovered when Hansel was taken into custody immediately after the transaction with Detective Perkins.
Hansel and Arce will make their next court appearance on March 27.