A former Mineral County Sheriff’s Department employee could be facing charges after sources reveal that an inmate’s prescription narcotic medication had been taken from the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department Detention Facility where the inmate was incarcerated.
Confronted with the allegations of theft within his department, Sheriff Stewart Handte stated he had been advised of the occurrence on Aug. 2.
“Upon notification of the incident, I immediately contacted Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigation Division. They responded quickly and initiated a criminal investigation at my request. The suspect [in this case] accused other Mineral County Sheriff’s Department employees of the theft,” Handte said.
Though the former employee had been terminated on an unrelated incident, all other Mineral County Sheriff’s Department deputies who had been accused have been exonerated of the charges, as a result of the NDI criminal investigation.
“A deputy who had been placed on administrative leave is now back to work after being cleared by this outside agency investigation. Full cooperation was provided to the Nevada Department of Public Safety Investigative Division by the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department in this matter,” Handte said.
According to sources, the former employee was caught on video surveillance. Charges to be brought forth could include burglary; acts which constitute theft; possession of a dangerous drug without a prescription and unlawful controlled substance possession not for purpose of sale. Fines for these charges could equal up to $35,000 and possible jail time, if convicted.
“When I was appointed Sheriff in December of 2013, one of my main goals was to restore trust between the public and sheriff’s department. That included investigating legitimate complaints involving my own department. Those accused of alleged misconduct, or criminal acts, will be investigated swiftly and fully by an independent outside agency if needed, should conflicts arise. This incident is a prime example of doing just that,” Handte said.
Unwilling to give details about the theft, Handte would say, “As a result of this investigation, security measures for the detention facility have been modified to prevent another incident of this nature from taking place again. As in all criminal cases one is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
When pressed for the name of the accused and more details, Handte went on to say the case was submitted to the Mineral County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution on Sept. 26 for the felony and misdemeanor charges. The sheriff would not name the suspect until an arrest was made in the case.