July 20, 2022
The former Elizabeth Borough police chief who admitted to stealing thousands of bags of heroin from his department's evidence room to feed his own addiction has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Timothy L. Butler Jr., 45, of Finleyville, is charged with a single count of theft of government property.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Butler stole bricks of heroin from June 2017 until December 2018 for his own personal use.
Butler has already pleaded guilty in state court for the same conduct.
In August 2019, Butler pleaded guilty to theft by failing to deposit municipal funds, drug possession and obstructing the law. The theft charges related to him taking parking meter money, which annually produced $4,000 to $6,000.
He was ordered to serve four years probation, and 325 hours of community service.
Butler worked for the department for 19 years and became chief in 2014. He resigned in December 2018, two days before charges were filed against him.
According to the criminal complaint filed in state court, officers in the department noticed their chief exhibiting suspicious behavior while interacting with a man found in possession of suspected heroin on Dec. 6 of that year.
When questioned, the man said he was making controlled buys for Butler.
The next day, a sergeant in the department confronted the chief, who admitted his addiction.
Butler, who had been the officer in charge of the evidence room, told the sergeant that "any heroin evidence was all gone," and that the room was a mess.
The complaint alleged that investigators found more than 2,700 empty, loose stamp bags, used to distribute heroin, in Butler's trash can. There were 535 more around his desk.
Investigators found that evidence envelopes that were to keep heroin seized during arrests, were empty or had empty stamp bags inside.
Butler told investigators he became an addict after he started taking opioids for neck and back pain.
The allegations in the indictment handed up by the grand jury on Tuesday stem from Butler's role as a federal task force officer deputized by the FBI.
Butler had been in charges of securing evidence from two federal investigations, the indictment said, and then used it himself.
Paula Reed Ward is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paula by email at or via Twitter .
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