CENTENNIAL, COLO.

- A former Colorado sheriff known for his crusade against youth drug use saw his bond cut yesterday from $500,000 to $50,000 in a case accusing him of offering meth to a man in exchange for sex.

Authorities contend that Patrick Sullivan, 68, offered the drug to the man during a sting set up last week by a law-enforcement task force.

Sullivan, former sheriff of Arapahoe County, attended a hearing yesterday at which prosecutors told a judge that he had been charged with felony distribution and possession of meth, as well as a misdemeanor charge of soliciting prostitution.

District Judge William Sylvester also heard arguments about reducing bail from defense attorney Kevin McGreevy, who cited Sullivan's nearly 20 years as sheriff along with his military service and a clean criminal record.

Sullivan used a cane to walk. He wore an orange jail uniform, and his hands were cuffed to a chain around his waist.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31, when Sylvester will decide if enough evidence exists to send Sullivan to trial. He has been in an isolation at the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility, a suburban Denver jail named in his honor.

Sullivan was sheriff of the suburban Denver county from 1984 until 2002, when he retired. He was hailed as a hero following a daring 1989 rescue in which he crashed a vehicle through a fence to provide cover for two of his deputies who were pinned by gunfire. Sullivan was also named sheriff of the year by the National Sheriff's Association.

Current Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said last week that police talked with him about Sullivan in January as part of an investigation into an unsolved drowning.

Denver police refused to say whether they had questioned Sullivan or what information they sought in the Jan. 26 drowning of Sean Moss, 27.

An autopsy found that intoxication from meth and gamma-hydroxybutryic acid, a rave drug, contributed to his death.

Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said the case remained open because the coroner had been unable to determine if the death was accidental, a suicide or homicide.

The Denver Post reported that Sullivan had posted bail for Moss after his arrest on Jan. 14 in a domestic-violence case involving another man in Centennial, a suburb of Denver.