WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced a former FBI agent to three years in prison for stealing heroin from the agency evidence storage facility.
Judge Thomas Hogan on Friday sentenced Matthew Lowry, 33, to 36 months in prison for charges of obstruction of justice, falsification of records, conversion of property and possession of heroin. Once he's released from prison, he must serve an additional 24 months of supervised release. He also faces fines in excess of $18,000.
Lowry pleaded guilty on 64 counts for taking bags of heroin out of storage, using some of it to get high. He then tried to cover it up by cutting the heroin with other substances and forging labels.
"I just want to apologize and say that I was wrong for my actions," Lowry said, outside U.S. District Court after entering his plea in April.
Lowry said he stole the drugs to feed his addiction, which started with prescription pain medication. Lowry's lawyer said his client became addicted to pain medications after years of having ulcerative colitis.
"Hopefully from this situation I'll be able to set an example on how not to deal with prescription pain medication abuse and be able to help people understand how powerful and addictive this can be," Lowry said.
Lowry obtained the drugs 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.
Because Lowry stole evidence, it forced federal prosecutors to dismiss cases against 28 defendants, including some who had already been convicted and sentenced.