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Deputy allegedly stole drugs from evidence room

"It appears that these drugs were taken for personal use," he said

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A veteran Cherokee County sheriff's deputy was arrested Saturday after he confessed to stealing drugs from the evidence room, authorities said.

Jeffrey Goettel, 41, of Jasper, was charged with violation of oath of office, possession of a schedule II narcotic and felony theft by taking, Cherokee sheriff's Lt. Jay Baker said.

Goettel's arrest was the result of an unannounced audit of drugs in the agency's evidence room that "revealed missing narcotics that had been marked for destruction," Baker said.

Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the district attorney's office conduct an investigation into the missing drugs. According to Baker, investigators found Goettel, who was in charge of the evidence repository, had stolen oxycodone and morphine.

The drugs were not taken for resale, Garrison said.

"It appears that these drugs were taken for personal use," he said.

None of the stolen narcotics were evidence in pending cases.

Garrison is contracting with Eason Investigative Services, a private firm in Dawsonville, to conduct a full audit of items in the evidence room.

"I will not tolerate acts of misconduct within this agency," Garrison said. "We will ensure these type cases are prosecuted to the fullest extent."

Goettel, who has worked for the sheriff's office for 17 years, was released Sunday morning from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on a $39,300 bond. He is currently on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

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