LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A sting operation using fake drugs led to the arrest and resignation of a La Crosse Police officer in August and Wednesday he was formally charged.
At a court appearance former La Crosse Police Lieutenant Brian Thomson was charged with Possession of Narcotics Without a Prescription.
"The charge that was filed is the subject of a negotiated resolution, conditioned on Mr. Thomson's past cooperation and future cooperation regarding evidence that was removed from the La Crosse Police Department evidence room," said Assistant Attorney General Jeff Gabrysiak, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.
The criminal complaint states the investigation began after concerns that Thompson was spending time in the department's evidence room, which weren't a part of his normal duties. It also says Thomson asked other officers if they had any leftover pain medications.
The complaint says Assistant Chief Robert Abraham had Captain Jason Melby pack a duffel bag with personal items and a bottle of fake Oxycontin pills.
Chief Abraham then gave the duffel to Thomson and told him to take care of putting it into evidence. The complaint says that video cameras later captured Thomson searching the bag.
When Abraham asked if there was anything in the bag, Thomson replied that there were only clothes in the duffel bag. Later, when Abraham checked, he found the pill bottle, now empty, in the duffel bag.
On August 13, Thomson admitted he took the pills from the bag and ingested them. He also told investigators that on at least three occasions he took methamphetamine from the evidence room and ingested those drugs.
"What everybody's trying to do here, the Attorney General's office and myself and Brian is to come to an agreement that's fair to everybody involved, that represents his career but that also balances that to some extent he's betrayed that trust," said Keith Belzer, Thomson's attorney.
Thomson admitted to a pattern of addictive behavior following legitimate pharmaceutical therapy according to the criminal complaint.
"I don't think that anybody disputes at all that this is an addiction issue related case, certainly that's a part of it," Belzer said. "As to what treatment he's seeking right now, I think that's private."
If convicted on the drug possession charge, he faces a maximum prison term of 3.5 years.
Following the court appearance, the department issued a statement saying they have taken steps to ensure this type of incident doesn't happen again. In the statement, it said, "Today's charges of Brian Thomson indicate the seriousness of this incident. The La Crosse Police Department is dedicated to ensure the highest level of accountability."
LA CROSSE, Wisconsin – Charges have been filed against a former Lieutenant with the La Crosse Police Department ahead of court appearance Wednesday.
Lt. Brian Thomson was arrested in August following an investigation by the State Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation. During the investigation, fictitious controlled substances were placed into evidence and under observation. Police Chief Ron Tischer said those items were removed by Thomson. He was arrested then on charges of attempted possession of a controlled substance and misconduct in office.
He resigned his position following the arrest.
On Wednesday, a formal charge of Possession of Narcotic Drugs was filed against the former officer. Thomson is scheduled for a court appearance Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.