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Farmington police identify 48 suspects impacted by pill, cash theft

The Daily Times Four Corners News,
BYLINE: Steve Garrison The Daily Times,

Farmington, NM

Goodvoyce, 28, charged with 39 felonies

Eva Barron, civilian operation supervisor with the Farmington Police Department, on Friday shows how evidence is stored inside the main evidence room at the Farmington Police Department. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — The local District Attorney's Office was provided a list Tuesday afternoon of 48 people whose criminal cases may have been impacted by the alleged theft of pills and cash from the Farmington Police Department's evidence room.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said his office is working to identify the number of affected individuals who face criminal charges. Prosecutors then will notify those defendants' attorneys that there are issues with evidence in their case.

"This is a partial list, and they are still working on the information we need," he said. "But we have plenty to do with this list."

Ashley Goodvoyce was charged Friday with 39 felonies in connection to the theft of more than 600 pills and at least $2,400 in cash from the department's evidence room.

Godvoyce, 28, made an initial court appearance Monday on charges that include embezzlement, tampering with public records, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and 36 counts of acquisition of a controlled substance by misrepresentation.

She is expected to appear at a preliminary examination hearing on Oct. 29.

Farmington police officers worked over the weekend performing a total audit of items held as evidence by the department.

Farmington police Chief Steve Hebbe said Tuesday that the criminal investigation continues and the department has completed its audit of sensitive items, including drugs, money, guns and jewelry.

Hebbe said the department is now auditing its nonsensitive items, which includes "everything from tennis shoes to baseball bats.

"We are pulling stuff out that may have been tampered with, but we don't know yet," he said.

Hebbe said that he and his officers are meeting daily with prosecutors from the District Attorney's Office to determine the number of criminal cases impacted by the alleged thefts. He said he expects that they will continue to meet daily for several weeks.

According to the arrest warrant for Goodvoyce, a records clerk at the department discovered on Oct. 14 that hydrocodone pain pills were missing from a double-sealed evidence bag. The bag was cut open and the contents removed, the warrant states.

Detectives searched the department's evidence cataloguing system and discovered that the evidence purportedly had been taken by a police officer. However, the officer had never signed a form indicating that he had retrieved the evidence, standard procedure when checking out evidence, and he denied having the hydrocodone, the warrant states.

Detectives learned that Goodvoyce, the department's sole full-time evidence technician, had changed the chain-of-custody record to show the officer had removed the evidence, according to the warrant.

Police officers began auditing the evidence room on Oct. 15, the warrant states, a day before a routine audit was expected to take place.

Officers quickly identified several bags of evidence that were missing prescription medication, the warrant states.

Goodvoyce was interviewed at the police department that afternoon, according to the warrant.

She initially denied taking the prescription pills, but eventually admitted to the thefts, the warrant states.

She told detectives that she had taken the narcotics medication, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, for her personal use and denied selling the pills. She also admitted to stealing approximately $3,500 in cash to pay bills, the warrant states.

She told detectives she would periodically change information in the department's evidence cataloguing system to hide missing evidence and would improperly mark evidence that had been tampered with for destruction, the affidavit states.

She told detectives that she began stealing evidence after the last routine audit was conducted by the department in April.

By Thursday, officers had identified some 600 pills as missing from the evidence room. The pills missing were almost exclusively narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocone, but approximately 200 unidentified pills also were missing.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said no evidence has been found suggesting that Goodvoyce was selling or sharing the pills, but he was skeptical that she consumed 600 pills in approximately six months.

"I don't necessarily believe that is within the scope of what someone with a pill problem could take," he said. "You are talking about 90 to 100 pills a month."

However, O'Brien said that detectives believe that the number of pills allegedly consumed was not outside the realm of possibility for a serious abuser of narcotics.

Sgt. Phil Goodwin of the Region II Narcotics Taskforce said that a narcotics pill typically is valued on the street based on its potency, with dealers charging $1 for every milligram.

For example, a 20-milligram oxycodone pill typically would sell on the street for $20, Goodwin said.

Ashley Goodvoyce (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

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