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Ex-pharmacy worker pleads guilty to stealing drugs

Cary Ashby • Mar 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM

An ex-pharmacy worker will be subject to random drug screens until her sentencing hearing next month.

Norma J. Zapata, 30, of 230 Whittlesey Ave., Lot 10, pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft of hydrocodone. She faces six to 12 months behind bars when she is sentenced April 24 for the Aug. 15 incident.

"The state would be recommending some form of community control," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said.

When Zapata was working at a local pharmacy, store officials determined they were missing some drugs, he said. Internal security workers performed an audit and analyzed video surveillance footage.

"Essentially, Miss Zapata was caught on video stealing a bottle of something," Leffler said. "Of course, she was fired from her job."

The prosecutor said investigators suspect Zapata had been selling the drugs and made $400. When police recovered one of the bottles, there were pills missing.

"We have no independent proof she sold the drugs," said Leffler, who credited the defendant for being cooperative during the investigation.

While Leffler said he's unsure if Zapata has a drug problem, he requested Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway make the random drug screens a condition of her bond. The defendant told the judge she'd been tested twice.

Conway ordered Zapata to be interviewed and screened for possible acceptance into the drug court program. The judge noted it would be a possibility for sentencing Zapata, who is out on bond and has no prior felony convictions.

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