Ohio officials believe a police chief who fatally overdosed on drugs stole the narcotics from his own department’s evidence room, authorities announced Wednesday.
Kirkersville Police Chief, 35-year-old James Hughes Jr., was found dead in his bathroom May 25, with packages of fentanyl, heroin and LSD strewn about the living room of his home—drugs that Reynoldsburg Police Lt. Ron Wright said all originated from the deceased man’s department, the Newark Advocate reports.
Hughes was pronounced dead soon after EMT’s arrived at the scene at approximately 11 a.m.
“There was packaging that indicated that he was taking controlled substances from there [Kirkersville Police Department],” Wright said.
In addition to the arsenal of drugs discovered, authorities also found three syringes, one containing traces of a powerful opioid, and the other containing fentanyl.
An autopsy confirmed the former police chief’s cause of death as “acute intoxication by fentanyl.”
Hughes replaced ex-chief Jeff Finley, who resigned over conflicts with Mayor Terry Ashcraft in March. Working part-time, he was bringing in $14 per hour.
An investigation by the Newark Advocate revealed a questionable past for Hughes, including allegations that he was in a relationship with an incarcerated female at the Fairfield County Jail while he was employed with the county sheriff’s office. Additionally, he was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2013 after using a racial slur at a fast food establishment.
Wright said if the drugs were indeed taken from the property room, no one will be charged in his death since the drugs weren’t sold to him, adding he will be handing the case over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office once it’s closed within the next few weeks.
“It’s kind of gone beyond our level. You’re talking about another agency’s property room. We think the state should probably intervene. There appeared to be some practices happening out there that probably someone from the state AG’s office should probably look into.”
The Kirkersville Council has offered to pay $1,500 towards Hughes’ funeral.
[Feature Photo: James Hughes Jr., GoFundMe]