MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A former Montana state crime lab analyst who stole methamphetamine from the facility's evidence supply will spend time behind bars.

The Missoulian reports that Judge Karen Townsend sentenced Derek Lee Thrush on Friday to a five-year commitment to the Department of Corrections and six months in the Missoula County jail on the recommendation of prosecutors.

Missoula Deputy County Attorney James McCubbin said 26 criminal cases were dismissed and four convictions were expunged because of Thrush's actions, which he said have also led to a "very significant backlog" at the lab.

In one case, the meth conviction of a Great Falls man was overturned after it was discovered Thrush had taken the drug just before testifying against the man.

Thrush said he knows what he did was wrong and struggles with that every day.

———

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.