An incident involving a Weston police officer selling stolen prescription drugs has turned into a circus of finger-pointing and alleged cover-up activities at the city of Weston.
On Friday, Dec. 11, The Landmark was anonymously hand-delivered an envelope containing police reports from the city of Weston and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation pertaining to an incident in which former Weston Police Officer Kyle Zumbrunn was eventually convicted of selling prescription drugs Morphine and Oxycodone to an undercover officer in Atchison, Kan. in September.
Zumbrunn eventually told Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) detectives that the drugs were taken from the evidence room of the Weston Police Department.
The documents dropped off at The Landmark include a detailed Weston Police Department report from Weston Police Chief Terry Blanton. In the report, Blanton alleges that Weston Police Sgt. Kip McGrath and Weston City Attorney Quint Shafer conspired to cover-up missing drugs from the department’s evidence locker.
Furthermore, the report indicates that on some level Mayor Greg Hoffman was aware of what was going on.
The report says that on Sept. 22, Blanton received the news about Zumbrunn’s arrest for selling the drugs. The KBI investigator told Blanton that Zumbrunn told investigators that he took the drugs from an unassisted death in Weston. Blanton says at that time he suspected the department’s evidence room as the source where the drugs came from.
The report states that Blanton asked McGrath to inventory the evidence locker in July before Blanton was set to take a three-week vacation. Upon return, Blanton said he was not advised of any discrepancies with the evidence locker. Furthermore, Blanton asked McGrath if the evidence locker had been compromised after learning of Zumbrunn’s arrest. Blanton says in the report that McGrath stated all evidence was accounted for.
Later that evening, the report says Blanton was able to reach Hoffman and Shafer. Blanton says he informed Hoffman of what was occurring and that he would keep him informed. Then he informed Shafer of the incident and said McGrath had informed him that no evidence was missing from the locker. Blanton says at that time Shafer indicated to him that all of the evidence in the locker room was not accounted for, and that he could not talk about the subject with Blanton any further at that time.
“Well, obviously you and Sgt. McGrath seem to know something I don’t,” Blanton quoted himself from the conversation.
Blanton says in the report a case was located that involved a man who had died and was taking the same medications that were missing. The police report involving the death lists McGrath as the investigating officer. According to the report, the man passed away in August of 2008.
The next day, Blanton says KBI investigators contacted him, saying Zumbrunn had changed his story and said he took the drugs from a stolen vehicle case.
While on the phone with investigators, Blanton said McGrath acted as if he were searching for the police report involving a stolen vehicle. Blanton said he told investigators that he did not believe Zumbrunn’s story.
In a KBI report dated Sept. 23, Zumbrunn admitted to taking the drugs from the evidence locker.
In the Weston police report, Blanton says at that time he began to suspect McGrath had not been truthful with him concerning the evidence.
After getting off the phone with investigators, Blanton says he pointed to the report that involved a deceased person from 2008 and asked if the drugs that were recovered from the person were still in the locker. McGrath at that time admitted they were not. Blanton says he then contacted investigators to inform them there was no stolen car report.
At that time, Blanton told investigators that he believed the drugs were stolen from the department’s evidence locker.
Later in the day, Blanton says he met with Mayor Hoffman and asked him if he were aware of any of the information. He says Hoffman told him that all he knew was that Shafer told him that he was conducting an inventory of the police evidence locker. Blanton said he told Hoffman that he was the one that had requested the inventory.
Blanton says he told Hoffman that he was disappointed in the way the entire matter had been handled and that McGrath and Shafer both failed to follow the proper chain of command. Furthermore, he said he was upset with Shafer for telling McGrath not to disclose any of the information to Blanton.
Blanton said he requested disciplinary action be taken toward McGrath and that he wanted answers as to why the matter sat for six weeks until Blanton began his own investigation. Hoffman then told Blanton that he would speak to Shafer, according to the report.
Blanton says the next day he went to meet with Shafer at his office, at which time the two men began to argue about the situation. Blanton says that Shafer insinuated to him that the police chief was “burnt out” and Shafer indicated he felt hostility from Blanton towards himself and McGrath.
Then according to Blanton, Shafer informed him that Blanton had not been informed of the situation because he was a suspect in the matter of the missing drugs.
Blanton told Shafer his accusations were “ridiculous” and that he was the one who requested an inventory. He said Shafer then suggested to him that Blanton should not work for the city anymore.
“I am the chief law enforcement officer of this city, not you, because I am the city attorney and Kip was acting upon my authority,” Blanton quotes Shafer as saying during the meeting.
According to a separate report filed on Oct. 9, McGrath claims he discovered the missing drugs on July 5. The report says he informed Shafer of the missing drugs the same day.
What is still not clear is why Hoffman waited so long before requesting an investigation by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. Hoffman did not request the investigation until Oct. 20.
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Shafer responded: “I can’t make a comment. At some point I will, or I might, but as of now the situation is still under investigation.”
Hoffman had not returned phone messages left by The Landmark by deadline.
The investigation into the missing drugs from the Weston department’s evidence room by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department is still ongoing.
The Landmark has also requested the results of any votes that have been taken in closed session by the Weston Board of Aldermen since September.
Zumbrunn was sentenced to 15 months in prison for the crime of selling the drugs in Kansas.