WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- A former Washington, D.C., FBI agent was charged with 64 criminal offenses for allegedly stealing heroin from the agency's evidence storage facility.
Matthew Lowry, 33, faces charges of obstruction of justice, falsification of records, conversion of property and possession of heroin, for allegedly taking the bags of heroin out of storage and using some of it to get high. He then allegedly tried to cover it up by cutting the heroin and forging labels, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia said.
Lowry allegedly obtained the drug while working as a member of the Cross-Border Task Force, which is involved in large-scale drug investigations. Prosecutors said he signed out bags of the drugs under false pretenses in 2013 and 2014.
He was caught in October when he left work early after having an argument with his wife. He never came home and the FBI searched Washington, D.C., finding Lowry in his vehicle incoherent and out of gas.
He was taken to a fellow agent's apartment for the night, and agents found the heroin in his FBI-issued vehicle the next day when they were cleaning it.
Should Lowry be convicted of the charges, he faces at least seven years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and must pay fines up to $16 million.
Lowry's lawyer issued a statement Friday saying his client became addicted to pain medications after years of having ulcerative colitis.
He "was not properly advised of the highly addictive characteristics of the pain medications he was receiving," Robert Bonsib told the Washington Post. "Mr. Lowry subsequently became dependent on them."
He is "devastated by the consequences of his conduct, particularly as it has affected the drug investigations that he, his fellow law enforcement officers, and prosecutors had spent so much time developing and pursing." Bonsib said.