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Hearing delayed for pharmacist

Jul 12, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Andrew Evans Paxson is charged with stealing $4,800 in narcotics for personal use from a safe at the Lander store where he worked.

A hearing for the Lander pharmacist who stole prescription drugs has been continued until Oct. 3.

Andrew Evans Paxson's lawyer requested a continuance from the planned July 3 date so Paxson could enter and complete a treatment program by the time a judge makes a decision on his case, according to court documents. Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett agreed to postpone the hearing.

The defendant signed a plea agreement with prosecutors in April. According to the deal, Paxson would receive five years of probation.

Charging documents said Paxson, then 33, stole $4,800 in narcotics for personal use from a safe at Shopko where he worked.

The Fremont County Attorney's Office charged the pharmacist with one felony, larceny by bailee, and a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. Together the counts carry a maximum penalty of 11 years in prison and an $11,000 fine.

A larceny by bailee charge alleges a person stole items they are responsible for but do not own, which in this case were the prescription narcotics.

The plea agreement would have Paxson plead guilty to both counts. He faces an arraignment and sentencing hearing Oct. 3.

If he follows the deal, Paxson will plead guilty to both charges. A judge will decide to accept the agreement and the recommended sentence at the October hearing.

Per the agreement, Paxson's $25,000 unsecured bond is continued.

Background

According to an affidavit filed by Lander police officer Anthony Barry, officers responded to Shopko on March 13 after Paxson told a regional supervisor he took Schedule II drugs from the store pharmacy's safe.

Barry said an inventory audit of the pharmacy's medication occurred after an empty bottle of Schedule II drug capsules was found in the safe. The examination revealed several bottles of drugs were missing.

Barry said Paxson indicated he took the medications out of the safe and agreed to show the officer where the prescriptions were. According to the affidavit, Barry recovered a backpack with five 100-count capsule bottles of different medications.

In an interview with police, Paxson said he took two bottles of the drug Kadian -- also called morphine sulfate, a Schedule II controlled substance -- from the pharmacy.

Barry said he returned to the pharmacy with the bottles. Another store pharmacist counted the capsules in the bottles and noticed they did not contain the working ingredients.

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