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Prosecutors have charged an employee of the Emery County economic development office with selling drugs.

Cardell Sackett, 55, was charged Monday with four first-degree felonies, four second-degree felonies and a third-degree felony for drug distribution. The first-degree felonies are punishable by up to life in prison.

Charging documents state that Sackett illegally sold a variety of potent prescription medications, including morphine, hydrocodone and diazepam. The first-degree felonies resulted because on four occasions Sackett allegedly sold the drugs within 1,000 feet of schools and churches.

Emery County drug task force detective Garrett Conover said the case began when a confidential informant told police Sackett was selling prescription medication. Using the informant, investigators set up four drug deals between December and February. Conover said two of those deals happened at Sackett's office in the Emery County building.

The Emery County economic development website lists Sackett as a "secretary/office manager." Conover said Sackett has been working part time for the county for a month or two. He also works in the community as a mortician, Conover said.

Conover went on to describe Sackett as a "pillar in the community" whose arrest left "everybody just in shock."

Defense attorney Mark Tanner said Thursday that Sackett had prescriptions for the drugs he allegedly sold. All the sales were made to the same confidential informant, Tanner added.

However, Conover said officials found Sackett with drugs that weren't prescribed to him. Conover also said more charges would likely be filed.

Sackett has not entered a plea and looks forward to resolving the case, Tanner said.

Sackett made his first appearance in court Tuesday, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled next week. He is in the Emery County Jail in lieu of $135,000 bail.

Twitter: @jimmycdii

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