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Forum Communications, Published August 01 2012

South Dakota police chief accused of covering up girlfriend’s meth use

WAGNER, S.D. — Wagner Police Chief Jim Chaney is accused of using a storage unit at the Wagner Police Department to store needles his girlfriend apparently used to take methamphetamine.

George Johnson, Chaney’s court-appointed attorney, says Chaney confronted his girlfriend on suspicions of drug use, after which she allegedly gave Chaney the needles.

The needles were stored at the police department until Chaney turned them over to agents with the state Division of Criminal Investigation, Johnson said.

Chaney was arrested July 25. He was charged with “misprision of a felony,” which means he allegedly had knowledge of someone who committed a felony and either concealed his knowledge or did not immediately report it to authorities. He could face a maximum of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor.

Johnson identified Chaney’s girlfriend as 21-year-old Charline Annette Cournoyer. Cournoyer was arrested July 9 on two counts of meth possession, both in her body and in a syringe, and one count of ingesting meth. Cournoyer faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each possession charge, both of which are felonies.