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Indicted Georgia sheriff found dead

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DOUGLAS, Ga., Oct. 3 -- The body of Coffee County, Ga., Sheriff Carlton Evans was found Tuesday -- apprently the victim of self-inflicted gunshot wounds -- by federal and state agents who had gone to his home to arrest him on drug charges.

Evans was one of 10 people indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to grow more than 1,000 marijuana plants.

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The other suspects include his brother, his brother-in-law, and two former deputies.

If they are convicted, they could face 10 years to life in prison and fines of as much as $4 million. Evans and five of the others also were charged with aiding and abetting the manufacture of marijuana, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said Evans ran out of the house when the agents arrived. His body was found several hours later near a wooded area. He said they suspect suicide because "Nobody else was seen in the area. It was one shot."

The two former deputies, Maj. Benjamin Hodge and Capt. Wayne Harper, and another deputy were arrested last November in Irwin County after investigators found more than 350 marijuana plants growing there. The indictments came after a search of the sheriff's office in Coffee County.

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