After evidence goes missing, the tech is charged

Gary Coffman
Gary Coffman

A police evidence technician has been charged with possession of drugs and guns stolen from the evidence room, forcing the Tulare County District Attorney to dismiss three felony drug cases.

Gary Coffman, 45, has been charged with three felony counts of possession of methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm, one felony count of possession of stolen property (firearms), three misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and two misdemeanor counts of drug possession, the District Attorney’s Office said.

In April 2016, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department investigated Coffman, an employee of the Tulare Police Department, and found narcotics, guns and money had gone missing from the evidence room.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward said he had no choice but to dismiss three felony drug cases because the evidence was missing, and no charges could be filed in other cases.

Coffman will be arraigned Friday in Tulare County Superior Court. If convicted, he faces more than seven years in state prison. In an unrelated matter, Coffman is facing five misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitutes over the internet.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold