Former state director: Reports of drugs in home cost her job - KCTV5

Former state director: Reports of drugs in home cost her job

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Danielle Elks hasn't commented on the controversy since the Channel 4 I-Team first exposed police reports of reported marijuana found in her home in 2011. Danielle Elks hasn't commented on the controversy since the Channel 4 I-Team first exposed police reports of reported marijuana found in her home in 2011.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The former director of the Alcoholic Beverage Commission said in an exclusive interview with the Channel 4 I-Team that reports of drugs found in her home cost her the state job.

Danielle Elks hasn't commented on the controversy since the Channel 4 I-Team first exposed police reports of reported marijuana found in her home in 2011.

Elks spoke at length about the reported drugs, the TBI investigations that followed and how she at first blamed her deceased husband for the loss of her job.

Elks was married to the keyboardist in the Charlie Daniels Band,  "Taz" DiGregorio.

DiGregorio was killed in a car accident on Oct. 12, 2011.

When a THP trooper and two Dickson County deputies arrived at the couple's home to try to notify Elks of her husband's death, the back door was open.

The officers went in and wrote in reports that they found a small amount of a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana, along with rolling papers.

Since one of the missions of the ABC is marijuana eradication, some of Elks' agents came to the Channel 4 I-Team in 2012 with their concerns.

One of the agents told the I-Team they suspected a cover-up because the substance was never confiscated.

"I grant you, if that had happened to any of us, we would have been made an example of. We would have been in headlines in the papers, the news, and everywhere else," the agent said in 2012.

DiGregorio's autopsy showed marijuana, as well as alcohol above the legal limit, in his system at the time of the crash.

"When your husband tells you, swears to you, that they're not going to drink anymore, then you're going to believe him," Elks said.

"Did you suspect he was using drugs?" asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.

"I knew that Taz had done drugs. I mean, he was a musician. Years ago, that went hand in hand," Elks said. "It doesn't mean I'd condone it. Doesn't mean that I'd do it."

"You were the director of this alcohol and illegal drug enforcement agency. How do you think that looks?" Finley asked.

"It was never determined there were drugs at the house. It was never tested. Whatever it was, it was never tested. And was never seized," Elks said.

That's what troubled the agents who came to the Channel 4 I-Team in 2012. At the time, the agents said even if they came upon a small amount of weed, they collected it to try and determine who the dealer was.

The TBI did investigate how the reported drugs were discovered by the police officers and found it was handled properly. Even the initial reports said there was such a small amount of the substance that it couldn't be collected.

"One of the agents said, if this had happened to him, that they would have been made an example of. Why do you think that didn't happen to you?" Finley asked.

"Well, I lost my job," Elks said.

Elks said at first, the ABC's commissioners told her that the governor's office is aware of the I-Team reports and that they would support her as long as they could until they could no longer support her.

Months later, she said a commissioner gave the option to resign or be terminated.

Elks opted to retire in good standing.

At first, Elks admits she was angry, first at the agents who she said were disgruntled and were looking for a reason to malign her.

She also admits she was angry at the love of her life.

"Initially, I was furious at Taz. As time has passed, I made the two situations separate," Elks said. "I'm not going to blame Taz for the malicious actions of others."

A TBI investigation was launched after DiGregorio's death, and Elks said she was told that her husband was found to have not been dealing drugs.

The THP officer who found the drugs did report it, and he was investigated and cleared.

The Channel 4 I-Team also recently reported that same THP officer was investigated and docked 20 days of pay for being our source on the story.

The officer was not among our sources, and he sued the state and won.

Elks is now running her own law firm.

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