2 Glasgow assistant police chiefs charged with threatening a witness

Two high-ranking Glasgow police officers illegally possessed pain pills and threatened a witness, a federal indictment charges.

Johnny Lee Travis, 41, and Maxie Christopher Murray, 36, face up to 21 years in prison if convicted, according to a news release from the office of Candace Hill, acting U.S. attorney for Western Kentucky.

Police arrested the two Wednesday after they were indicted. They pleaded not guilty Thursday, according to a court document.

U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Robert Goebel ordered the two held until a detention hearing scheduled for Friday. Their attorney was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.

Glasgow Police Chief Gary Bewley said he has put Travis and Murray on paid administrative leave.

Travis and Murray are majors and assistant chiefs — the top two officers under Bewley. Travis has been a Glasgow officer for 16 years and heads the patrol division, while Murray has been with the department for 12 years and heads the criminal investigations division, Bewley said.

The indictment says that the officers conspired with each other and with others between February 2004 and January 2008 to possess hydrocodone, a painkiller, without a valid prescription.

The document also charges that they threatened a witness to try to hinder an investigation of their activities.

In November 2007, for instance, Travis told a person he could kill him if Travis found out the person was giving information to authorities.

The indictment indicates that the officers suspected someone in the police department was giving information to outside authorities.

In December 2007, according to the indictment, Travis said to a witness: "When I find out where this is coming from, and I said if it is somebody in our police department, I said the (expletive) is going to pay."