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Arizona vet tech accused of stealing drugs intended for animal surgeries

A vet technician in Pima County is suspected of stealing drugs used for animal surgeries and replacing them with saline.

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — A veterinarian technician is under arrest after an investigation into possible drug theft and animal cruelty at a veterinarian clinic.

The suspect, 40-year-old Andrew Shalek, was booked on Monday, Sep. 11, for drug related crimes.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department began the investigation on Sep. 8, when they responded to the clinic where they learned fentanyl and hydromorphone had been removed from a locked drug cabinet.

The drugs were meant to be used for surgeries and pain management for animals.

According to deputies, Shalek had been seen on camera taking the medicines and replacing them with saline.

Court documents obtained by 12News claim Drug Enforcement Agency investigators spoke with Shalek about the allegations. Shalek allegedly admitted to them that he was using fentanyl five to seven times per shift but could not remember how much hydromorphone he had used.

Shalek also reportedly told the DEA he had a history of drug use and "could not help himself" the documents claim. While accessing the logs provided by staff, Shalek reportedly checked out fentanyl from the secure locker 28 times within a stretch of five days.

Additional charges may be added including animal cruelty. Staff told investigators while this was all allegedly happening, they ran into several problems while performing surgeries on pets in their care because what they thought was fentanyl or hydromorphone to ease the pain of the animals, was actually saline solution.



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