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Jury convicts former Washington County deputy in prescription drug case

A former Washington County sheriff’s deputy accused of stealing prescription drugs from the department’s drug drop-off bin awaits sentencing after a jury convicted him Monday.

Oakdale resident Ricky Harry Gruber, 43, was convicted Nov. 4 of misconduct by a public employee and illegal possession of prescription drugs.

The former deputy was captured on surveillance video in February removing the secure “drug drum” from the county’s pharmaceutical drop-off box at the sheriff’s office in Stillwater. Gruber later admitted to stealing a key to access the area, making his own copy and taking prescription drugs from the drum, according to prosecutors.

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is to be congratulated for its swift and sure response in investigating the crimes committed by one of their own deputies,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in a news release. “Their professional response was responsible for our ability to bring him to justice. While it is disheartening when a law enforcement officer commits a crime, we can be reassured by the fact that they, too, will be brought to answer for their crime.”

Gruber’s sentencing is set for Jan. 10.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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