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Suspect's wife was sheriff's employee

The woman resigned two days after her husband was arrested for Ecstasy trafficking and marijuana possession.

A man who was arrested earlier this month on drug trafficking charges is the husband of a secretary who worked in the vice and narcotics unit at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Arlene Ehrhardt worked in the vice and narcotics unit for seven years and asked to be transferred out of the unit on Dec. 15 _ two days after her husband, Robert, was arrested for having 11,227 Ecstasy pills and a third of a pound of marijuana in his storage unit, said Sheriff Lee Cannon.

"She wanted to take herself out of the loop, she wanted to make sure that there was no embarrassment to the agency or herself," Cannon said Friday. "She's a good person, she's from a good family. I admire her for her professionalism."

Cannon said that Arlene Ehrhardt did not know that undercover officers had been tailing her husband for years, even though she had access to classified files. He also said that detectives found no evidence that she was involved in her husband's drug dealing.

"I know she didn't know anything about it," he said. "She never compromised any information or anything that we were doing. If she would have had any involvement, we would have found out."

Robert Frederick Ehrhardt, 33, of 10645 Maryanne Lane, New Port Richey, was charged with trafficking in Ecstasy and possession of marijuana.

It was one of the largest Ecstasy busts in Tampa Bay history, Cannon said.

Detectives seized the drugs and $4,700 in cash from a Port Richey storage unit rented by Ehrhardt. According to sheriff's officials, the Ecstasy was worth $200,000.

Ehrhardt, who said he was a car salesman on his arrest paperwork, was released from the county jail on bond shortly after his arrest, officials said.

Robert Ehrhardt had a prior arrest in Pinellas County in 1992, on a possession of marijuana charge, records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed.

According to court records, Arlene Ehrhardt, 30, filed for a restraining order against her husband on Dec. 15, and according to Cannon, she is filing for divorce.

Arlene Ehrhardt began working for the Sheriff's Office in 1989 and the couple married in 1994.

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