Two Unified Fire paramedics facing prescription drug fraud charges

Posted at 5:33 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 19:33:49-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah - Two paramedics within the Unified Fire Authority face charges of prescription drug fraud.

The charges come less than two weeks after Unified Fire Deputy Chief Marlon Jones was charged with 14 counts of prescription drug fraud.

Longtime UFA paramedic Bruce  Bergdahl was arrested Wednesday at his Box Elder County residence, charged with three felony counts of illegally obtaining prescription pain medications, primarily oxycodone.

"In these cases my investigators tell me there's not hundreds but thousands of pills," said Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo.

The investigation began last month when Cottonwood Heights police began looking into the disappearance of drugs like morphine and fentanyl from UFA firehouses. Russo's team began looking at the records of UFA employees.

"The theory was that the person most likely had a prescription drug addiction which motivated them," Russo said.

Investigators learned that Jones, Bergdahl and another paramedic were allegedly "doctor shopping," or filing multiple prescriptions from different doctors.

"It is a crime to go to several physicians and not disclose to each doctor that you're receiving controlled substances from another provider," Russo said.

Bergdahl remains in the Box Elder County Jail. He'll likely face similar charges in Salt Lake County within the next few days. The other paramedic is not being named until he is formally charged.

UFA Chief Mike Jensen says he's aware of and concerned about the developments, but he can't say more until he reads the formal charges.

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Unified Fire Assistant Chief facing prescription drug fraud charges