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A former employee of the U.S. Postal Service admitted Monday to a federal judge that he rifled through packages being mailed to the Arkansas Department of Health and stole the drugs inside.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes accepted Monterrian Dejung Lambert's guilty plea to a single count of theft of mail by a postal employee, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Lambert, 30, will be sentenced after a pre-sentence report is completed.

In exchange for Lambert admitting to one count of a 10-count indictment, with each count representing a different theft in the summer of 2015, Holmes granted federal prosecutors' request to dismiss the remaining counts. All involved the theft of blister packs of oxycodone or hydrocodone.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Mazzanti told the judge that the U.S. Postal Service's office of inspector general began receiving complaints in late June and early July of 2015 that packages containing controlled substances were being stolen en route to the Health Department. She said investigators conducted surveillance that showed Lambert rifling through packages and, when confronted, he admitted taking the drugs.

Prosecutors agreed not to object to a probationary sentence if a pre-sentence officer believes it is appropriate.

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Metro on 02/13/2018

Print Headline: Stole health agency's drugs, ex-postal worker tells court

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