CASTLE DALE — A part-time employee of the Emery County Economic Development Office has been charged with selling prescription painkillers.

Cardell Ezra Sackett, 55, made his first appearance Tuesday in 7th District Court where he is charged with nine counts of distribution of a controlled substance. Four of the charges are first-degree felonies, four are second-degree felonies and one is a third-degree felony.

Sackett's March 8 arrest at the Emery County administration building was the result of an investigation that began late last year when a confidential informant contacted authorities, according to Emery County sheriff's detective Garrett Conover.

The informant, working with investigators, bought nine different types of narcotic painkillers from Sackett in four "controlled buys," Conover said. Two of the alleged sales took place inside the county office building.

"We bought a total of 30 to 40 pills from him," Conover said.

Sackett was not a "long-term employee" of the county, Emery County Attorney David Blackwell said. Instead, he worked for the county on a temporary basis and then as a part-time employee, Blackwell said. The county's website lists him as the office manager and secretary for the economic development office.

Defense attorney Mark Tanner said Sackett has valid prescriptions for the medication he's accused of selling.

"Cardell regrets this situation," Tanner said. "He looks forward to making amends and moving on."

Sackett remains in the Emery County Jail, where he's being held in lieu of $135,000 bail. His next court appearance is set for March 19.

Geoff Liesik

Twitter: GeoffLiesik