DeLand police officer fired, 2 others reprimanded after losing drug evidence

By: WFTV Web Staff

Updated:

DELAND, Fla. - A DeLand police officer is off the force and two other officers were disciplined after investigators said the officers lost methamphetamine that was supposed to be secured as evidence.

The drug was seized from a home over the summer.

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According to a report, Michael Mirino was fired, John Rutherford was suspended without pay for a day and Thomas Gillan received a letter of reprimand from the department.

The officers were called to a home on the 1300 block of Lazy River Lane to help probation officers check on a parolee.

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When they got to the home, the officers found guns, pills and a white powdery substance.

After a field test, they discovered the powder was methamphetamine, and that’s the last time the powder was seen, according to an internal affairs report.

The drug still has not been found.

The report never suggests the officers stole the drug, just that it somehow disappeared while in their custody.

The 25-page report details different accounts of what happened before the drugs disappeared.

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Mirino said he ran a field test on the powder, which turned out to be meth.

He said he then handed the drug off to Rutherford, but Ruthford said he doesn’t remember receiving the powder.

Gillan said Rutherford gave him a package of evidence, which he assumed had everything in it, and he brought it to evidence storage.

Two weeks later, a state prosecutor called about the evidence for an upcoming hearing and learned the meth was missing.

All the officers involved were wearing body cameras, but the report said due to technical problems, the handling of the meth was not recorded.

The missing drug has put the probation case in jeopardy, according to the report.

Channel 9’s Lauren Seabrook asked a city spokesperson if the case was still being prosecuted, but the spokesperson said he could not comment on the case.

Seabrook also asked the state attorney’s office, but has not gotten a response.

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