Officer faces drug charges

Staff WriterMay 6, 2009 

— Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation charged a veteran Highway Patrol officer Tuesday with prescription fraud, court records show.

The SBI charged 1st Sgt. William Pete Wheeler, 35, of Cary with one felony count of obtaining a controlled substance by legal prescription by withholding information, according to records filed Tuesday with the City County Bureau of Identification.

Wheeler has been with the state Highway Patrol since February 1998.

"He is one of the supervisors of our training academy on Garner Road," said Capt. Everett Clendenin, a patrol spokesman.

Clendenin said the prescription drugs involved were painkillers.

"They say that stuff is pretty addictive," he said.

The Cary Police Department began investigating Wheeler in December. Police say they were contacted by pharmacy employees at the CVS Pharmacy at 1123 Kildaire Farm Road on Dec. 28.

Cary police Capt. Michael Williams declined to discuss his investigator's findings.

"We identified what happened and then turned the case over to the SBI," Williams said.

SBI representatives were not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Clendenin said the patrol has been aware of the SBI investigation that led to Wheeler's arrest.

"He's been on administrative duty -- in the office, out of uniform," Clendenin said.

One day before his arrest, the patrol placed Wheeler on "investigatory placement" pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Clendenin said. or 919-829-4533

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