PCSD: Pets suffered because vet tech stole pain medicine, replaced it with saline solution

Man arrested after drugs stolen from Pima County veterinarian clinic
Man arrested after drugs stolen from Pima County veterinarian clinic(Pima County Sheriff's Department)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:20 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 1:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A man with a criminal history is accused of stealing pain medicine, causing animals to suffer at a veterinarian clinic in the Tucson area.

According to court documents, the clinic reported several complications after fentanyl and hydromorphone were switched out for a saline solution. The drugs were supposed to be used during surgeries and for pain maintenance.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said 40-year-old Andrew Shalek was arrested on several drug-related offenses on Monday, Sept. 11.

According to the interim complaint, Shalek had been recently hired by the clinic as a technician.

Investigators said there are several videos of Shalek taking the fentanyl and hydromorphone out of vials and replacing it with the saline solution. Shalek, who told deputies he was a drug addict and “could not help himself,” would then allegedly shoot up in the bathroom.

Shalek told investigators he used the fentanyl five to seven times per day but could not remember how often he injected the hydromorphone.

The complaint states the drugs, worth around $200, were taken between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5.

PCSD Animal Cruelty Detectives are reviewing this case with the Pima County Attorney’s Office.

Shalek has a criminal history in Pima County.

In 2014, he was convicted on two counts of disorderly conduct. The court dismissed a charge of discharging a firearm in the city limits and he was sentenced to probation.

In 2016, he was convicted of forgery and possession of a dangerous drug through fraud. A fraud charge and several other drug charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to probation and later petitioned to have it designated as a misdemeanor.

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