BENTONVILLE -- A former Bella Vista police detective admitted to stealing medications from the evidence room and the department's drug take-back bin, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith said Bella Vista police are checking cases to determine how many could be in danger of being dismissed because of tampering.
Clayton Jon Roberts was arrested Tuesday in connection with seven counts of controlled substances fraudulent practices and seven counts -- four felony and three misdemeanor -- of tampering with physical evidence.
Prosecutors haven't filed a formal charge against Roberts. He was released Tuesday from the Benton County Jail after posting a $5,000 bond.
Roberts, 36, of Bella Vista and another detective, Mike Kugler, were fired last week in connection with mishandling evidence. Kugler wasn't arrested.
Police Chief James Graves asked the Benton County Sheriff's Office to handle the investigation.
Bella Vista police received two reports from the Arkansas Crime Laboratory medications submitted as evidence on cases didn't match the lab submission form, according to the affidavit.
Roberts accessed reports in cases where the pills had been switched, according to the affidavit. One case involved a felony arrest where four suspected pills of oxycodone were seized, and each pill had the number 30 stamped on it. However, the pills sent to the Crime Laboratory were different and stamped M18. The lab determined the pills to be metoprolol, according to court documents.
Roberts was questioned by detectives with the Sheriff's Office, and he first denied taking any pills from the evidence room, according to the affidavit.
Roberts later admitted he was responsible for switching the pills out of the evidence packages, according to court documents. He said he started taking the pills because he had an addiction, according to the affidavit. He said he started taking narcotic pills from the evidence room shortly after he was given access in 2015, and he searched through reports looking at cases involving oxycodone or hydrocodone pills, according to the affidavit.
Roberts said he was responsible for any pills missing, and he could have accessed the evidence room to get pills on more than 20 occasions, according to the affidavit.
Medication collected as evidence in criminal cases weren't Roberts' only targets, according to the affidavit.
He said he took pills in unattended death cases, according to the affidavit. That medication is kept in the evidence room.
He also admitted to taking pills from the department's drug take-back bin, according to the affidavit. Roberts said he would come to the department on weekends and look through the bin, according to the affidavit.
Roberts' arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Circuit Judge Robin Green's courtroom.
NW News on 01/11/2018
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