Bail set for Bothell man, former deputy accused of stealing drugs seized in DEA investigations

A former King County sheriff’s deputy who worked undercover for the U.S. Drug Enfor

Then-King County Sheriff Sue Rahr recognizes then-Deputy Mitchell Wright (center) as Shoreline Police Officer of the Year in 2006 for making more than 150 arrests

A former King County sheriff’s deputy who worked undercover for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration admitted that he stole drugs that the federal agency seized in various investigations and hid them in the woods behind his Bothell home, according to court documents.

A King County District Court judge set Mitchell J. Wright’s bail at $250,000 on Tuesday. The 33-year-old Bothell man was arrested Monday at his home on charges of first-degree theft, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, first-degree possession of stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.

Wright, a 10-year veteran of the King County Sherriff’s Office, was assigned during that time to the DEA’s office in Seattle and was commissioned as a task force officer to investigate federal and state-level controlled substance violations as part of the Tactical Diversion Squad.

He was reassigned from that position in February for administrative reasons; however, the DEA had no suspicions of wrong-doing at that time, according to probable cause documents.

But Wright was placed on administrative leave on July 3, after the sheriff’s office launched an investigation into his friend, who claimed she was Wright’s informant.

Bothell police Officer Ryan Stapleton was patrolling the McDonald’s parking lot in Bothell around 2 a.m. May 25 when he saw the woman in a parked Dodge Ram pickup truck. He approached the truck and saw a woman with a hypodermic needle in her right arm and believed she was injecting heroin, court documents continue. The woman claimed the truck belonged to Wright, whom she lived with and said she was an informant for.

During a search of his truck, detectives found and seized drug paraphernalia and drugs.

Wright resigned in lieu of termination on July 9.

The Sherriff’s Office ordered Wright to surrender his assigned marked patrol car when he was placed on administrative leave. A subsequent search of the car turned up three plastic baggies that were marked with DEA case numbers and evidence numbers indicating they were exhibits from two previous investigations.

Both of the cases were controlled substance violations that were investigated by the DEA squad to which Wright was assigned. The baggies contained 2.5 grams of heroin.

Detectives found that federal prosecution was declined for both cases and the DEA released the drug exhibits to Wright for prosecution in Washington state courts on May 1. However, none of the items were placed into the Sheriff’s Office evidence system, the documents continue.

In addition to the three baggies of heroin, detectives found that Wright also received more than 1,600 oxycodone pills, more than 230 grams of benzodiazepine and five grams of cocaine, according to probable cause documents. The total street value of the drugs that Wright allegedly stole was between $36,500 and $52,500.

A Sheriff’s Office evidence technician searched the office’s evidence computer database and found that none of the drugs that Wright received were entered into the evidence system.

In an Aug. 16 statement, King County sheriff’s Detective Timothy Gillette wrote that Wright admitted to “keeping the drugs that he knew were for investigation and burying them in the woods behind his house.” Gillette said Wright showed him the FedEx box the drugs were transported in, which was located in his recycling bin with nothing in the box. The statement does not indicate whether detectives found any drugs in the woods.

Former King County Sheriff Sue Rahr recognized Wright as Shoreline Police Officer of the Year in 2006 for making more than 150 arrests, including numerous arrests for felony narcotics violations.

Then-Chief Tony Burtt said Wright “has the heart of a lion, excellent police instincts and the willingness to risk his safety in order to serve the citizens of Shoreline,” according to an annual Shoreline Police performance report.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Pexel Images
Two patients contracted COVID-19 while at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland

A press release from the hospital states it has contacted 100 employees that had various levels of exposure, and that the direct source in this case is unclear

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

Seven decades later, the search for two missing Navy pilots continues

The pilots are thought to have disappeared near Black Lake, northeast of North Bend.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

The truck of the Renton family as it was found Tuesday. While fleeing the Cold Springs Fire two adults were severely burned and one toddler died. Courtesy photo/Okanogan Sheriff’s Office
Toddler killed as Renton family flees Cold Springs Fire

The parents were severely burned and are being treated at Harborview Medical Center

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Screenshot from the state Employment Security Department’s website at
Workers may qualify for an extra $1,500 in unemployment back pay

A federal program will give some of the state’s unemployed a $300 weekly bump for the past five weeks.

Screenshot of the air quality monitor at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8. Courtesy Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.
King County faces unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke

Weather monitors recommend people limit time outdoors, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung disease.

Image courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Massive wildfires incinerate WA

All state Department of Natural Resources lands were closed to recreational activities on Sept. 8.

Evergreen Academy Preschoolers make donations for Blueberry Gardens Senior Care. Courtesy photo/Evergreen Academy Preschool
Photos: preschoolers make homemade crafts for Bothell seniors

Students from Bothell Evergreen Academy Preschool are learning the value of spreading joy in the community

Pictured left to right: Former Congressman Dave Reichert, Slade Gorton, and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn visit Washington, D.C., to testify in favor of the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area designation. Courtesy photo
Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton dies at 92

Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton died Aug. 19 in Seattle at age… Continue reading

Highlighted in yellow box sits the Chaipatanapong property, where Kenmore hopes to place a new public works facility. Courtesy photo/City of Kenmore.
Kenmore family questions eminent domain case involving culturally significant property

Mayor David Baker said he is ‘disgusted by the accusations’ regarding warehouse acquisition.