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Former King Co. deputy who worked with DEA charged with stealing drugs

wrightSEATTLE — A former King County sheriff’s deputy who was a task force operator for the DEA was charged Wednesday with stealing heroin and other drugs while on the job.

Prosecutors accuse former deputy Michael Wright of stealing between $36,000 and $52,000 worth of narcotics during undercover operations between 2009 and February of this year. According to court documents, most of those drugs were never recovered.

Wright was a task force operator for the Drug Enforcement Administration when the alleged crimes took place.

According to probable cause documents, Wright was placed on administrative leave from the King County Sheriff’s Office on July 3 after a Bothell police officer found drugs in a truck registered to Wright.  Wright resigned from his position as a King County deputy six days later.

Wright was already being investigated for unauthorized use of federal crime databases.

The same court records reveal that deputies discovered three small plastic bags containing a powder-like substance when they searched the patrol car assigned to Wright on July 20. The substance was later identified as heroin.

Additionally, Wright is accused of not submitting drugs associated with DEA cases into evidence.

Wright has been charged with first-degree theft and violating the Controlled Substances Act.

At a court appearance on Tuesday, a judge set Wright’s bail at $250,000. Prosecutors say Wright is a flight risk, having allegedly told investigators that he had accepted a high-paying job in Australia.

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