Prosecutor: W.Va. city's evidence room issues lead to 15 months of drug case dismissals

The Associated Press, The Register-Herald

Beckley, WV

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Raleigh County officials say drug cases going back 15 months are being dismissed because the evidence is missing from the Beckley Police Department's property room.

Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller told The Register-Herald on Wednesday that police notified her of the missing evidence.

Evidence rooms serve as holding facilities for items such as money, drugs and guns obtained during investigations.

Keller explained that once evidence control is compromised, the prosecutor's office has no choice but to dismiss the charges. Previous convictions or guilty pleas also could potentially be vacated.

Beckley Police Chief Tim Deems told the newspaper Tuesday that an internal inventory of the department's evidence holding room was under way.

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