Sheriff's office alerted police about former deputy's behavior

Updated: Nov. 7, 2016 at 1:07 PM MST
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SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Detectives in Sierra Vista started investigating a former sheriff's deputy now charged in a murder-for-hire plot soon after he left the Cochise County Sheriff's Office.

CCSO notified the Sierra Vista police about the behavior of Israel Burkholder, who resigned from the sheriff's office in March 2015, according to SVPD Sgt. Sean Brownson.

Burkholder left before being fired for the results of an internal investigation, according to CCSO spokeswoman Carol Capas.

She said Burkholder joined the sheriff's office in February 2004. He served with the Tombstone Marhsal's Office before that.

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Burkholder allegedly was involved in illegal Oxycontin pills, according to Brownson. He said police monitored his behavior and learned that Burkholder also allegedly had plans to hire someone for a murder.

Physical and electronic surveillance of Burkholder increased on Friday, Nov. 4, according to Brownson. He said investigators believed that the former law enforcement officer was in communication with an outside shooter and set up a meeting in Sierra Vista.

Police officers swarmed around Burkholder on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 6, at a convenience store in Sierra Vista, according to a release from SVPD. Brownson said it was after his proposed meeting with whomever he allegedly was planning to pay to kill someone.

Burkholder is in the Cochise County Jail, facing a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. SVPD could not comment on anyone else involved in the conspiracy, citing the on-going investigation.

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