Mo. paramedic sentenced for replacing fentanyl with water

Joseph Comstock was sentenced to two years and six months in federal prison as part of a plea agreement

By Tony Rizzo
The Kansas City Star

A former Missouri paramedic who stole painkilling drugs and replaced them with water was sentenced to federal prison Friday.

Joseph L. Comstock, who worked for two different ambulance services in northern Missouri, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison as part of a plea agreement.

Comstock, 31, pleaded guilty last September in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to three counts of tampering with a consumer product.

The charges involved Comstock’s employment with NTA Ambulance District in Bethany, and the Community Ambulance District of Daviess County in Gallatin.

Officials with NTA discovered in 2015 that some morphine syringes had been tampered with, according to court documents.

Employees later found that containers of other drugs also had been tampered with.

Investigators then contacted the service in Gallatin and discovered similar instances of drugs being tampered with when Comstock worked there.

In one case, after a man was given fentanyl for a leg injury and reported no pain relief, workers found several vials of fentanyl with loose caps, according to the documents.

Law enforcement investigators installed hidden cameras in the NTA ambulance building and saw Comstock getting into the cabinet where narcotics were kept.

He was then questioned and admitted that he started tampering with drugs in 2014 after having his tonsils removed.

He confessed to taking morphine and fentanyl from ambulances and replacing the drugs with sterile water.

Comstock admitted that he personally treated two trauma patients with fentanyl that he had watered down.

He was also ordered Tuesday to pay $906 in restitution. He remained free on bond Friday and will be allowed to surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons by March 26.

Copyright 2018 The Kansas City Star

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