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Forum News Service, Published June 26 2013

South Dakota police chief pleads guilty to drug charge

FREEMAN, S.D. - Freeman’s police chief pleaded guilty Wednesday to obtaining a controlled substance from different practitioners.

Eric Seitz, 35, appeared for a status hearing at the Yankton County Courthouse but ended up changing his plea after agreeing to a plea bargain.

The state dropped two of three original charges, and Seitz pleaded guilty to obtaining hydrocodone from different medical practitioners at the same time, a misdemeanor.

He was also sentenced by Judge Tami Bern. She fined Seitz $300, ordered him to pay $84 in court costs and $63.11 in prosecution costs, and to get a chemical dependency evaluation. He will serve 60 days of unsupervised probation.

Seitz is still Freeman’s police chief, said City Attorney Mike Fink.

“He is presently on suspended status,” Fink said. “The city’s going to have to make decisions based on his criminal case. They’re going to have to look and see what his sentence is, and it depends on what happens with the state certification training board.”

Court records state that between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31, Seitz obtained prescriptions for hydrocodone, a pain reliever, and another for carisprodol, a muscle relaxant. Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, he obtained prescriptions for hydrocodone from different practitioners.

He was originally charged with three counts of obtaining hydrocodone and carisprodol from different medical practitioners at the same time.