A former employee of two northern Missouri ambulance service admitted Tuesday that he stole powerful painkillers and replaced them with sterile water.
Joseph L. Comstock, 31, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Kansas City to federal charges of tampering with a consumer product.
Comstock most recently worked for the NTA Ambulance District in Bethany, Mo. He previously worked for the Community Ambulance District of Daviess County in Gallatin, Mo.
According to his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, officials with the ambulance service first discovered that some morphine syringes had had tampered with in early 2015.
In a subsequent search, employees found that containers of other drugs had been tampered with.
Investigators also found that the service in Gallatin, where Comstock previously worked, had also discovered similar instances of drugs being tampered with.
In one case, after a man was given fentanyl for a leg injury and reported no pain relief, workers found several vials of fentanyl with loose caps.
Investigators then set up hidden cameras in the NTA ambulance building and saw Comstock getting into the cabinet where narcotics were kept.
He was then questioned and admitted that he started tampering with drugs in 2014 after having his tonsils removed. He confessed to taking morphine and fentanyl from ambulances and replacing the drugs with sterile water.
Comstock admitted that he personally treated two trauma patients with fentanyl that he had watered down.