Friday, July 24, 2009

Prominent Tyler resident, accused drug user

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Master builder, community leader, political organizer, and accused illegal drug user. Last Saturday night, Frisco police cited prominent Tyler resident, Anwar Khalifa for possession of marijuana.

The details in the police report took some by surprise.

"Smith County is a sanctuary, is a bubble and we don't want to burst that bubble," said Anwar Khalifa not even four months ago while asking voters to keep Smith County dry. He is now accused of getting high.

We broke the news to Tony Watson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winona. He worked with Khalifa on the campaign.

"Anwar Khalifa is a man that loves people, a man that loves his community," said Watson. "Any of us can fall at any time."

Late Saturday night, an off duty Frisco police officer was working security in the Embassy Suites parking lot. In the police report, Frisco PD Officer Jerry Profeta details how he smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from Khalifa's truck. He spotted Khalifa walking toward the hotel. Khalifa looked over his shoulder, and kept walking. The officer followed Khalifa into the hotel and asked him how much pot he had on him. Khalifa responded, he had no idea what he was talking about.

The report says Khalifa told the officer he'd been smoking a cigar. The officer then asked him to step back outside. On the way back, the officer wrote, "Khalifa admitted he was smoking marijuana...the rest of the joint...still in the car. Khalifa also admitted to smoking pot at least once a week."

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"We're expected to be law abiding citizens in the community," said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle.

He says Khalifa was immediately dismissed from his duties as a police chaplain.

"Everybody makes mistakes of judgment, of character," said Swindle. "We all make decisions, one day we regret. It's a public image question and we think the Tyler citizens deserve the best and we intend to provide the best."

He says the department will move on. Pastor Watson has that same hope for his friend.

"Hopefully, this is a one time occurrence and he's able to move past it," said Watson.

Frisco police say no other marijuana was found in Khalifa's truck. He was fined and released. After speaking with his attorney, Khalifa declined to make a comment. He did tell KLTV he was in Frisco for a wedding.

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