Spartanburg Man Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Drugs In Ashevil -

Spartanburg Man Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Drugs In Asheville Police Evidence Room

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A man from Spartanburg pled guilty in United States Federal Court for his role in the embezzlement of drugs from the evidence room at the Asheville Police Department.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne Tompkins stated that William Ledessie Smith III, 49, pled guilty to federal program fraud on Thursday after admitting he embezzled between $10,000 and $30,000 worth of controlled substances from the evidence room.

According to Tompkins, Smith, a former Property Evidence Technician with the Police Department, admitted to opening envelopes containing controlled substances after they were returned from the State Bureau of Investigation Lab and removed them. He then used a new layer of tape and re-applied it over the layer of tape that the SBI had used to seal it. Tompkins said that an analysis by teh Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that Smith's fingerprints were found under or on the sticky side layer of the new tape.

"Mr. Smith betrayed the trust placed in him by the Asheville Police Department and the citizens of Buncombe County," said Tompkins. "Instead of fulfilling his duties and safeguarding the evidence room, Mr. Smith pilfered controlled substances and, in the process, compromised the integrity and good name of the Asheville Police Department. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to root out public corruption and prosecute those who abuse their positions of trust for their own benefit."

Smith had served in the evidence room at the Police Department for over 20 years and had access to firearms, cash and drugs that were stored in the room.

"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. The success of this case was due in great part to our strong relationship with the SBI. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the SBI to see that corrupt public officials are brought to justice," said Roger Coe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

"I'm proud of our SBI agents' excellent work in this case, which once again demonstrates our strong partnership with federal prosecutors in rooting out public corruption," said SBI Director Greg McLeod.

Smith faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the court during sentencing.

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