Fayette County

Former police officer pleads guilty in drug theft case

A former Williamsburg police officer has admitted burglarizing a pharmacy to get narcotics and being part of a drug ring that sold 10,000 OxyContin pain pills.

Kenneth Bradley Nighbert, 32, now of Lexington, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges Thursday in federal court in London.

He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in November, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.

Nighbert admitted that in February 2006, while he was a patrol officer in Williamsburg, he went to a pharmacy in town in his cruiser and removed electric meters to try to disable the alarm system, according to a court document.

Nighbert and Larry Dan Harville then used a chain hooked to Harville's SUV to pull out the doors of the pharmacy and stole drugs, the document said.

Nighbert, the son of former state transportation secretary Bill Nighbert, also acknowledged he began selling large amounts of pills while he was a police officer. Kenneth Nighbert began working as an officer while his father was mayor of Williamsburg.

Nighbert left the police force after hitting a woman's car in his cruiser in April 2006 while he had drugs in his system.

Sheriff's officers in Laurel County arrested him in May 2007 while he had a police badge, a loaded pistol, OxyContin pills and $32,000 in cash. He planned to use the money for a drug debt and to buy more pills, he admitted.

Nighbert has already served a state jail sentence based on that arrest.

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