Man admits to pilfering nearly $30K in drugs from police - FOX Carolina 21

Man admits to pilfering nearly $30K in drugs from police

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Authorities say the drugs were stolen from the Asheville Police Department's evidence room. (File/FOX Carolina) Authorities say the drugs were stolen from the Asheville Police Department's evidence room. (File/FOX Carolina)
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

A Spartanburg man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday after he was accused of embezzling nearly $30,000 in drugs while working for the Asheville Police Department.

According to U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins, 49-year-old William Smith III worked in evidence room for more than 20 years as a civilian employee where he had access to items including cash, weapons, controlled substances and more.

Evidence presented during Smith's hearing on Thursday showed he would open envelopes with the controlled substances inside, remove the drugs, then reseal the envelopes to appear as if they had never been opened, Tompkins said.

She said an analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed his fingerprints on the sticky side of the tape Smith used to reseal the evidence.

Between $10,000 and $30,000 worth of drugs were embezzled by Smith, Tompkins said.

"Not only did Mr. Smith treat items inside the Asheville Police Department's evidence room as his own property, he put countless criminal cases in jeopardy," said Roger Coe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

Smith was employed until April 1, 2011 with the department and because during some of that time Asheville police received federal funding, the crime was under federal jurisdiction, Tompkins said.

Smith pleaded guilty to one count of federal program fraud and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 crime. Tompkins said he agreed to pay restitution, which will be determined at his sentencing hearing.

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