Law enforcement patrol
Sheriff deputy’s patch. Photo credit: OnScene.TV

A San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who stole prescription medication from drug drop-off boxes at a patrol station was sentenced Monday to two years of probation.

Cory Dean Richey, 39, was arrested earlier this year on allegations that he fished drugs out of prescription drug collections boxes, which are located at law enforcement facilities and jails across the county for people to dispose of unwanted medications anonymously.

Richey, who remains on administrative unpaid leave from the sheriff’s department, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge earlier this year. He previously faced up to 13 years in state prison if convicted of felony burglary and misdemeanor drug possession counts.

His defense attorney, Earll Pott, said after the sentencing hearing that Richey developed an opioid addiction following an injury inflicted by an inmate while Richey was working as a jail deputy.

“At the depths of his addiction, he accessed discarded medication left in drop boxes at a sheriff’s facility,” Pott told reporters.

The attorney said Richey has since completed a residential drug rehabilitation program, been drug tested on a weekly basis and has not had a positive drug test in eight months.

“He’s looking forward to his continued sobriety and committed to his family and community,” Pott said.

Though earlier this year, Deputy District Attorney Cal Logan said the investigation was looking into whether Richey was selling any of the medication, the prosecutor said Monday that the evidence only showed Richey was using the drugs personally.

“He is a person that unfortunately succumbed to addiction like so many people in our community,” Logan said.