Authorities said Deputy Rusty Ferrell was on vacation with his family last week and returned Saturday to find his .45 caliber Glock pistol was missing.
The deputy's neighbor, who is distantly related to him, was quickly developed as a suspect. He is 22-year-old Dustin Alan Caldwell of Rogersville. The police report stated Caldwell admitted stealing the gun and told police who had it. Officers confronted two men who handed it over.
Investigators believe Caldwell traded the gun for drugs, but said that couldn't be proven.
Caldwell remained in the Hawkins County Jail, which had no record of an attorney for him.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.