Several days before he was arrested on drunken driving charges, Carbon County Sheriff Barry Bryner dictated a letter in which he admitted removing marijuana and narcotics from the Carbon County sheriff's evidence vault.

The marijuana and cocaine had been held as evidence since the administration of the previous sheriff, Ross Horsley.Chief Deputy Sheriff Jeral Cowan, who is among officials who received the letter from Bryner, said he did not know why Bryner dictated the letter on Feb. 15 to a clerk in the sheriff's office.

"He apparently just took it upon himself to do it," Cowan said Tuesday.

Carbon County commissioners and Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate are among officials who have copies of the letter, which has also circulated throughout the state.

Cowan quoted Bryner as saying he took the marijuana and narcotics home for safekeeping because he didn't know how many people might have the combination to the sheriff's evidence vault.

He quoted the sheriff as saying that he later searched for the narcotics and marijuana, only to learn that his brother-in-law had burned the marijuana in a coal furnace in Bryner's home.

Cowan said the cocaine was returned to the sheriff's office but has since been turned over to a Utah State Narcotics and Liquor Law Enforcement Bureau agent.

Last week Bryner was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to stop for an officer after a high-speed chase and a two-hour standoff near Price. Bryner was arraigned Feb. 23 in 7th Circuit Court and the hearing was continued until March 8. Bryner was released from custody on a $10,000 bond.

Meanwhile, Carbon County commissioners have appointed James Robertson, who was a deputy sheriff, as acting sheriff.