WAYNOKA, Okla. (AP) _ The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has changed its policy on destroying confiscated drugs after a former waste disposal company employee absconded with some of the illegal substances.
A Woods County judge recently sentenced Monte Lopshire, 50, to 12 years in prison after Lopshire pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and maintaining a place resorted by users of controlled drugs.
Lopshire was accused of possession of marijuana that his uncle, Robert Makee, confessed to taking in January. Makee worked at the Lone Mountain facility.
Lopshire received 10 years for the first two offenses and 12 years for the last. The sentences are to run concurrently.
A Woods County Sheriff's Department affidavit states that Makee confessed to taking 10 pounds of marijuana from the Lone Mountain waste disposal site. Kym Koch, OSBI spokeswoman, confirmed that the marijuana had been seized as evidence by the agency.
Makee, 54, then gave the drugs to Lopshire, the affidavit states. He pleaded guilty to delivery of marijuana and received a two-year suspended sentence in May.
Koch said the agency has taken more precautions to ensure confiscated drugs are disposed of properly.
``We have increased the number of criminalists who watch the process from start to finish,'' she said.
Now, six to 10 OSBI representatives go to the site instead of three, she said.
Employees follow the same process to destroy the items as before. Once the drugs arrive on the site, employees shred them and mix them with concrete, officials said.
After the mixture hardens, it is buried in the landfill, Koch said. Makee took the drugs and hid them before they were shredded, she said. He returned later to retrieve the items, the affidavit states.
Doug McLain, facility manager, said Makee was dismissed after the incident because he did not return to work.
Safety Kleen, the company that manages the Lone Mountain site, does not have a disposal contract with any other law enforcement agency, McLain said.
Koch said she doesn't know of any similar incidents in the department's yearlong contract with the company.
The department paid approximately $5,835 for service in the fiscal year that ends Saturday.