UFA deputy chief, paramedics allegedly stole medication from ambulances, firehouse

Posted at 5:38 PM, May 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 21:10:40-04

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah - More information is being released about an investigation into prescription drug fraud within Unified Fire Authority.

Less than two weeks ago, UFA Deputy Chief Marlon Jones was charged with 14 felonies in connection with prescription drug fraud, and it was announced on Wednesday that paramedic Bruce Bergdahl and another unnamed paramedic will likely face similar charges.

Their arrests came after investigators found that morphine and other pain medication were missing from UFA ambulances and firehouses, and pain medication was taken from ambulances and replaced with saline.

Police first found out about the missing pain medication a month ago, according to Bergdahl's arrest statement. Their investigation focused on the UFA firehouse in Cottonwood Heights, where detectives then started looking in to employee pharmaceutical histories.

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

Jones and Bergdahl had both allegedly received several hundred tablets of controlled substances from several different doctors, with the majority of them being oxycodone.

There are no reports that the three suspects were under the influence of those medications while at work.

"We're going to go back and look at the histories and see if any of their supervisors have ever seen anything while they've been on duty. To our knowledge they haven't," said Unified Fire Chief Michael Jensen.

Jensen says that they also found no indication that the saline that had replaced the pain medication was injected into a patient.

Jones and Bergdahl are currently on paid administrative leave. Charges from Salt Lake County against Bergdahl and the second paramedic are expected as soon as next week.

Related stories:
Two Unified Fire paramedics facing prescription drug fraud allegations
Unified Fire Assistant Chief facing prescription drug fraud charges