RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) – Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor announced the arrest of a coroner's office volunteer, accused of stealing prescription pills from the homes of deceased persons.
Sheriff Taylor said that Willie Forte, 46, of Phenix City, was arrested Friday and charged with theft and unlawful distribution of controlled substance.
Taylor said Forte allegedly took prescription pills that were supposed to be properly disposed of after bodies were transported to the coroner's office.
The sheriff says that instead of the pills being properly destroyed, Forte allegedly stole the prescription pills and giving them to another person to sell, and perhaps getting a portion of the sale afterward.
Taylor said most of the prescription pills were strong pain relievers, like Oxycodone and Oxycotin.
The pill scheme was uncovered during the execution of a search warrant for Earl Hatton on Thursday. Law enforcement discovered at least 18 to 20 prescription pill bottles with labels removed from them, connected to coroner's office calls that involved Forte.
Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry, Jr. was not at the press conference due to a prior engagement. Taylor said that it appears to be an isolated incident, and was adamant that there was no indication that the coroner was involved in the scheme.
The case is ongoing, but Taylor says that no more arrests are expected.