BECKLEY, W.Va. -- A former technician was charged Friday with illegally obtaining oxycodone pills that were discovered missing from the Beckley Police Department's evidence room.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said the charge against Gabriella Brown, 31, of Beckley was contained in a federal information. That document typically signals a defendant's cooperation with prosecutors.
Goodwin said the charge carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
Brown was the technician at the time prescription drugs were discovered missing from the evidence room in August. Evidence rooms serve as holding facilities for items such as money, drugs and guns obtained during investigations.
Goodwin told media outlets that 22 pills were missing when an officer came to collect evidence, and that Brown plans to provide information about pills that were taken on other occasions. Goodwin didn't know the total amount of pills involved.
Raleigh County prosecutor Kristin Keller has said state drug cases going back with 15 months would be dismissed because evidence had been compromised. Keller has urged anyone who has pleaded guilty or who has a pending drug case to consult with an attorney or contact the prosecutor's office to see if their case may be affected.
Goodwin has said federal cases were unaffected.
A court document said Brown, who has resigned her job, committed a federal felony by obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge.
"Prescription drug abuse damages continues to take a toll on communities all over southern West Virginia," Goodwin said. "I'm committed to doing everything possible to get this problem under control."