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Second UFA employee being investigated for drugs

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 6:33 a.m. MDT

Bruce Bergdahl, 44, was arrested May 22, 2013, in a drug-related investigation. He has been a paramedic with the Unified Fire Authority for 18 years. (Box Elder County Jail) Bruce Bergdahl, 44, was arrested May 22, 2013, in a drug-related investigation. He has been a paramedic with the Unified Fire Authority for 18 years. (Box Elder County Jail)

SALT LAKE CITY — A second firefighter is facing possible drug charges triggered by a review of what happened to medications missing from the Unified Fire Authority, and a third employee could be under scrutiny as well.

Bruce Bergdahl, 44, was arrested Wednesday in a drug-related investigation. He has been a paramedic with UFA for 18 years.

The arrest comes less than two weeks after assistant chief Marlon Jones, 48, was charged with 14 counts of obtaining a prescription under false pretenses, a third-degree felony. Jones was charged May 10, the same day UFA announced an investigation into discrepancies with its stock of controlled substances.

A third, unnamed UFA employee is also being investigated, Unified Fire Chief Michael Jensen said Wednesday. The three men worked at separate stations on different schedules, and they are accused of obtaining drugs outside of work, he said.

Jones' charges are not connected to the controlled substances that appear to be missing, Jensen said when the investigation opened. The charges were filed when two outside police departments were brought in to investigate the discrepancies in UFA's medicine stock and questioned Jones about his prescription history.

Jones was seeing three different physicians to receive pain medications, including hydrocodone, carisoprodol and zolpidem, which he said he took three times daily, according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

UFA's medicine stock is reviewed daily, in addition to a review following every call medical personnel respond to, Jensen said.

Jensen said the problem appears to have existed for only a short time before the investigation began and was discovered through normal agency procedure. The three controlled substances in question are all in liquid form and are used to treat pain, seizures and to sedate patients.

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