Montana State Crime Lab Investigates Possible Drug Thefts

Theft is having an impact on cases around state

By Justin Franz

BILLINGS — A former employee of the state crime lab in Missoula is suspected of stealing drugs collected as evidence by law enforcement agencies affecting criminal proceedings across the state.

The Attorney General’s office tells The Billings Gazette that drug thefts between September 2014 and June 2015 have forced prosecutors to drop drug charges in at least 50 cases. The employee suspected of stealing was fired from the lab in June.

Deputy Chief of Criminal Operations Ed Zink says the crime lab was forced to contact prosecutors across the state about the tampering in case any evidence was affected.

The issue came to light when drug charges were dismissed in a Billings case.

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