Former West Michigan police chief sentenced in drug theft and sale case

Hartford Police Chief Tressa Beltran
Posted at 10:11 PM, Jun 24, 2024

PAW PAW, Mich. (WXMI) — The former leader of a small West Michigan police agency is headed to prison following a years-long legal battle over drug charges.

Tressa Beltran, the former chief of the Hartford Police Department, was sentenced Monday on two charges related to an investigation that found she had been using her role as chief to get a hold of controlled substances and then sell them.

The probe into Beltran began two years ago when detectives from the Van Buren County Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police raided the Hartford Police Department on a tip about drug dealing happening inside. The city put Beltran on leave following the search.

Eleven months later, the Michigan Attorney General's Office charged Beltran with nine counts, including:

  • Delivery or possession with the intent to deliver less than 50 grams of a controlled substance
  • Using a computer to commit a crime
  • Extortion
  • Embezzlement by a public official over $50 in value
  • Misconduct in office
  • Larceny in a building
  • Possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance
  • Possession of a controlled substance/analogs
  • Possession of a Schedule 5 controlled substance
Former Hartford police chief turns herself in

According to the state, Beltran convinced people with drugs to give them to her and she then sold those drugs to other people. She also allegedly stole drugs seized by the police department.

WATCH: Former Hartford police chief arraigned on blackmail, embezzlement, drug possession charges

A July 2023 ruling sent the case to trial, but Beltran and the Attorney General's Office reached a plea agreement, with the 58-year-old admitting to possessing drugs with the intent to delivery and using a computer to commit a crime. The remaining charges were dropped.

Beltran will serve at least three years and four months in prison. Her maximum sentence is 20 years.