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September 3, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Ex-King County deputy accused of stealing drugs released on bail

Former deputy Mitchell Wright, who resigned from the King County Sheriff’s Office in July after seized drugs were allegedly found in his patrol car, has bailed out of jail and been ordered to surrender his passport.

Wright was released from King County Jail on Friday, a day after he pleaded not guilty to theft and drug charges and had his bail reduced from $250,000 to $25,000, according to prosecutors and jail records.

The 33-year-old Bothell man was arrested in August after a three-month investigation that began when Wright’s girlfriend was arrested, prosecutors say.

According to prosecutors, a Bothell police officer spotted the woman inside a truck in a parking lot with a needle in her arm. She told police that the truck belonged to Wright, that she was his girlfriend and that she was also one of his informants, according to court documents.

As a result of her arrest, investigators began looking more closely at Wright, who had been working undercover on a federal narcotics task force since 2009, prosecutors say.  A search of his laptop found he was accessing government computers for non-government purposes and Wright was placed on administrative leave on on July 3, according to the sheriff’s office.

When two deputies were sent to his house to retrieve his patrol car, they found in the trunk bags of drugs with evidence tags indicating they were narcotics seized during two federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said drugs seized during investigations that don’t result in federal prosecutions are turned over to individual officers, who are then required to enter the drugs into their own agency’s evidence system.

Wright resigned on July 9 and was charged last month with first-degree theft and violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

The street value of the drugs Wright allegedly stole is estimated at between $36,500 and $52,490, prosecutors say.

Wright’s next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: drug charges, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, King County Sheriff's Office

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