Suspect arrested for massive hydrocodone theft

SPOKANE, Wash. - Pill theft

A Spokane man has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than 100,000 hydrocodone pills from Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Paul Martsin, 24, made his first appearance in Spokane Superior Court Thursday afternoon on charges of possession of hydrocodone and possession of codeine with intent to deliver.

An investigation started several months ago at the outpatient pharmacy at Sacred Heart Medical Center found they were short several thousand hydrocodone pills. Covert surveillance cameras were placed in the pharmacy and on July 17 Martsin, a licensed pharmacy technical in the outpatient pharmacy, was allegedly observed on camera taking 1,000 hydrocodone pills, two bottles of codeine cough syrup from the pharmacy in a backpack.

He was contacted a short distance away from the pharmacy and was arrested. A search warrant was executed on the backpack to retrieve the stolen painkillers, and follow-up warrants were executed at his apartment and storage unit.

At his apartment, detectives found 7,000 hydrocodone pills along with 190 empty pill bottles that could hold up to 500 pills each. The number of pill bottles indicates he might've stolen as many as 95,000 additional pills.

Detectives also found $13,000 in cash which they believe came from illegal drug sales.

Because he had no previous criminal history, Martsin was released on his own recognizance following his court appearance Thursday afternoon.

This story is developing. More information to follow as it becomes available.