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According to a series of documents filed in U.S. District Court, the Asheville Police Department’s longtime and former evidence manager, William Ledessie Smith III, has confessed to stealing “controlled substances” and will assist with any future investigations of what went missing from the APD’s evidence room.

Last Thursday, federal prosecutors announced that Smith will plead guilty to taking drug evidence valued at between $10,000 and $30,000. See their press release here.

The release said that Smith could face up to 10 years in prison and fines totaling as much as $250,000.

Documents filed with the court offer additional details but leave other questions unanswered. For example, they make no mention of the guns, money and other valuables also missing from the APD evidence room. Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore has not returned a call seeking further comment.

The documents outline some of the terms Smith has reportedly agreed to. See the plea agreement and a separate document specifying his commitment to it below.

William Smith plea agreement (PDF)
William Smith plea agreement (Text) 

William Smith acceptance of plea agreement (PDF)
William Smith acceptance of plea agreement (Text) 

Special Investigation

For more of Carolina Public Press’ ongoing special investigation into the Asheville Police Department, go here.

Jon Elliston

Jon Elliston is the lead contributing open government reporter at Carolina Public Press. Contact him at

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