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Former York Correctional nurse charged with tampering with medication at the prison

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A Mystic woman has been charged with tampering with medications when she worked as a nurse at York Correctional Institution in East Lyme, according to the affidavit for her arrest warrant.

State police arrested Donna De Los Santos, 56, of 1191 Flanders Road, on Jan. 12 and charged her with obtaining a controlled substance through fraud, misrepresentation of a substance as a controlled substance, and sixth-degree larceny. She was released on a $30,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on Feb. 9.

State Police Detective Robert Carey wrote in the arrest warrant application that in February 2020, a nursing supervisor at the prison reported that several blister cards containing medication had been opened and resealed with tape. Some capsules had the medication altered or removed.

Police said the correction department conducted an internal investigation and developed De Los Santos as a possible suspect, using video surveillance and medication signature logs.

DOC spokeswoman Karen Martucci said De Los Santos' employment was terminated Oct. 9. She said internal investigations "always include a review of policies associated with the violations" and that De Los Santos was "found to have violated current administrative directives governing employee conduct."

Police said that several blister cards containing Adderall or Vyvanse, which are both used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, were tampered with. A laboratory test showed that some of the tampered capsules contained an antihistamine instead.

Surveillance video from Feb. 9, 2020, showed De Los Santos at the pharmacy window holding blister cards and bending in the direction of her bag under the desk several times, and then taping the back of the cards, the affidavit said.

De Los Santos told police she heard medications had been tampered with, and that she took initiative to fix the packages even though she knew she wasn't supposed to fix them with tape, the affidavit said. She denied stealing any medication or replacing it with another substance but said her DNA is probably on every capsule that has been fixed with tape.

Police found her DNA on broken capsules, unbroken capsules, the interior blister pack bubbles, and the underside of tape, according to the affidavit.

Police said De Los Santos had admitted to diverting Ritalin from hospital stock while working as a nurse around 2005, and that she was subject to disciplinary action from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

e.moser@theday.com

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