A former EMT at Mercy Medical Center has pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing fentanyl and hydromorphone from dozens of vials used by ambulances in Carthage and Mount Vernon, Missouri, and replacing the drugs with saline or water solution. 37-year-old James Poole of Webb City was arrested after an investigation that began in January, when it was noticed that a vial of fentanyl had been tampered with. Further investigation revealed that stock in the ambulances and in the office had been tampered with as well. A total of 26 fentanyl vials and 43 vials of hydromorphone had been tampered with, and in some cases, the contents were replaced with saline or water. Poole was one of several employee’s tested, but he was the only one who tested positive for norfentanyl. This week, Poole waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product. According to the courts, Poole admitted that he was an opioid addict and had been since he was injured in an ambulance accident in December 2018. He also admitted to administering half the dose of fentanyl that he claimed on documents for a call to a patient with abdominal pain. Poole stole the syringe with the remaining narcotic and injected himself with the remaining fentanyl after his shift. Poole could be sentenced up to 10 years in federal prison without parole.