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Sunday, January 15, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

Pastor picked up on drug charges

Arrest not the first for Baptist minister

The pastor of a prominent Flint church was arrested Friday on suspicion of cocaine possession.

Derrick A. Aldridge, pastor of Foss Avenue Baptist Church, was booked into the Genesee County Jail Friday afternoon on pending charges of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, carrying a concealed weapon and driving under the influence of drugs, jail officials said.

Formal charges against Aldridge had not been issued as of late Friday afternoon, and it was unclear if he would be lodged in the jail or released pending further investigation.

Aldridge was arrested Friday morning in the Ballenger Highway and Flushing Road area, although police hadn't released details.

Acting Flint Police Chief Gary Hagler and the church could not be reached by The Journal on Friday. Police officials had made no formal comment about the arrest.

Aldridge, 51, is the son of the late Avery Aldridge, a civil rights activist, former pastor at Foss Avenue and a leader in Flint's religious community. The younger Aldridge became pastor after his father died in 2003.

This isn't the first brush with the law for Derrick Aldridge, who was charged with embezzling more than $11,000 from the Flint City Market in the mid-1990s, when he was manager of the market.

In an unusual arrangement, he was allowed to plead no contest to attempted embezzlement, with the plea held in abeyance during a term of intensive probation.

Aldridge paid restitution and satisfied the terms of the deal and was allowed to plead guilty to willful neglect of duty by a public official. He received a suspended sentence, court records say.

At the time, prosecutors said the embezzlement resulted from a substance abuse problem for which he sought treatment on his own.

Aldridge also was convicted of grand larceny in Arkansas in 1972 but was granted an executive pardon in 1980. He also had a 1978 drug conviction in Alabama.


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