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    Lab worker at medical examiner’s office pleads guilty to stealing drug evidence

    July 27, 2018 GMT

    A former lab worker on Wednesday admitted to stealing drugs he was tasked with analyzing when he worked at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    Matthew Ieraci, 29, pleaded guilty to in federal court to one count of theft of federal evidence, according to a release.

    Ieraci admitted that over the course of several weeks in February, he stole more than 52 grams of powdered alprazolam, the chemical name for the sedative Xanax, according to the release.

    The drugs had been submitted to the lab for testing by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as part of a federal drug-trafficking investigation. Ieraci was the scientist assigned to analyze the evidence.

    “When government employees tamper with and steal federal evidence, they not only abuse their position of trust, they also undermine the ability of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct,” U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said in a statement.

    Such tampering can render evidence inadmissible in court.

    Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 28 in front of U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak. Ieraci faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.