Former Oregon State Police scientist pleads guilty to stealing drugs from crime labs

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BEND, Ore. — A former Oregon State Police forensic scientist pleaded guilty to stealing drugs that had been submitted as evidence at two crime labs.

Nika Larsen, 36, of Bend, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud and deception.

OSP launched an investigation after 18 oxycodone pills were discovered missing from a Bend crime lab in April 2015, according to court documents.

Investigators said other evidence was found to be tampered with and, in each case, Larsen was the primary scientist assigned to process the evidence.

Investigators determined that more than 700 pills had been stolen, including morphine, hydrocodone, diazepam, methamphetamine, tramadol and methadone, according to court documents.

Court documents state in some cases the stolen drugs were replaced with over-the-counter pills.

Larsen was hired by OSP in 2007 and worked in Springfield, Pendleton and Bend.

“We profoundly regret our scientist’s behavior and any adverse impact it has had on our professional partners or the administration of justice. We are redoubling our commitment to delivering the consistently professional service that built our hard-earned reputation for excellence,” according to an OSP statement released Tuesday.

A workgroup was established by Gov. Kate Brown to evaluate policies and procedures at OSP crime labs.

Larsen is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12, with the recommendation of a three-year prison term followed by supervised release and community service.

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