Marlee Swink will serve 30 days in jail and pay restitution for her theft of narcotic pills from Walker Drug Company in Moab. Swink pled guilty on Tuesday, Oct. 24 to three misdemeanor counts of theft, possession or use of a controlled substance and obstruction of justice.
Swink was working as a cashier at Walker Drug Company when she stole 550 pills each of hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to the attorney of Jack Walker, the owner of the store.
A statement by the attorney of Walker said, “Mr. Walker and the Walker Drug Company were impacted financially by the theft of the drugs … Ms. Swink also put Mr. Walker’s pharmacy license at risk. Mr. Walker’s primary concern is that Ms. Swink will endanger our local children. When sentencing Ms. Swink, the court must determine whether probation and the threat of jail is enough to prevent Ms. Swink from committing a similar crime in the future.”
Walker requested the maximum sentence under law, stating that “time spent incarcerated will both keep Ms. Swink off the streets and hopefully make her think carefully about her own future.”
Swink had a prescription for narcotics to treat a degenerative back disease, she said. Her attorney, Joseph Alamilla, stated that her prescription increased between November and December 2016, at which time she may have had an addiction that influenced her behavior.
Swink said she expressed remorse for her actions.
“I am extremely sorry for what I did. I know it was wrong and I probably will never forgive myself for it,” Swink said. “My kids are my whole life ... I couldn’t imagine being away from them for one day so I’m hoping you’ll see how regretful I am and how much I’ve learned from this.”
Swink and Alamilla both denied allegations that her actions led to the overdose of two local children — two friends of Swink’s son who overdosed on a mixture of drugs including benzodiazepines in March.
Alamilla said that a local paper “ran with the story” and alleged that she hurt two children and that Swink has suffered greatly in the community as a result of the mischaracterization.
“In that case of the ten or twelve drugs that were in these individuals’ systems, none of those could be traced back to my client but they were on numerous drugs,” Alamilla said. “None of that was traced back to her son, so the statement that she’s directly contributed to the overdose of local children is just patently false. It’s nowhere on the record.”
The prosecuting attorney, Emery County’s Brent Langston, raised the issue of whether Swink intended to distribute the pills that she took.
“I’m raising that issue because of the sheer number of pills that were taken,” Langston said. “I’m aware that she had her own prescription … she basically took the law into her own hands and stole the pills. So I don’t know why she would do that unless she was going to try to sell them in the community.”
In response, Seventh District Court Judge Lyle Anderson said, “So we’re just sort of wondering … was she trying to get more pills for herself or was she trying to get more pills so she could sell them and we don’t know. We don’t have any evidence that points one way or the other.”
Judge Anderson ordered that Swink serve 30 days of jail time with an order of probation until her restitution to Walker Drug Company was paid. He also ordered a substance evaluation and completion of recommended treatment.