Montana State Crime Lab Chemist Charged With Stealing Meth
A Montana State Crime Lab chemist, Derek Thrush, has been charged with three counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, namely methamphetamine left over from testing that he stole from his workplace and ingested.
Court records from the Missoula County Attorney’s office state that Thrush allegedly obtained the drugs from samples submitted by law enforcement agencies for chemical analysis.
A concerned citizen told police that Thrush had admitted to him that he had stolen the drugs. In addition, court records indicate that Thrush’s spouse had found methamphetamine in their home shortly before Christmas 2017.
Missoula Police detectives attempted to contact Thrush at the crime lab, but he had not reported to work that morning, so they interviewed Thrush at his home on February 14. He was advised of his Miranda rights and consented to speak with the detectives.
Thrush admitted to the detectives that he had used meth a number of times that he had obtained from the Montana State Crime Lab.
He explained that he obtained the drugs in very small amounts from the leftovers of samples taken from evidence for testing. He explained that the leftovers were supposed to be destroyed after testing, but he would take the unused samples mixed with water and use an oral syringe to ingest the drugs.
Detectives learned that Thrush’s supervisors had discovered a vial of meth in his desk, and there was no reason for it to be there.
Detectives obtained a warrant for Thrush’s cell phone with a Fitbit app and found that he had an elevated heart rate for several hours after using the methamphetamine.
Thrush has been charged with three felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, three misdemeanor charges of theft, and three misdemeanor charges of official misconduct.
Deputy County Attorney James McCubbin filed the affidavit on Friday afternoon which stated the matter was being taken directly to District Court and no bail has been set. The state is requesting an initial appearance be scheduled with the issuance of a summons.
KGVO News has learned that Thrush has retained an attorney. It is not known at this time if Thrush’s alleged actions will have any effect on drug cases currently being adjudicated.