County 911 dispatcher charged in drug stop involving fentanyl

by Kate Shunney

An emergency dispatcher employed by Morgan County 911 was charged last week by police in Allegany County, Md. for drug possession.

John D. Diehl of Burlington was charged on November 28 with possession of a controlled substance, non-marijuana and released on personal recognizance, according to Maryland court records.

As of Monday, December 5, Diehl was no longer an employee of Morgan County.

Allegany County Sheriff’s Department posted details about the arrest on their social media page.

Police said on Tuesday, November 29 at 4:30 p.m. deputies stopped a vehicle going westbound in I-68 near the 43D mile marker. Deputies reportedly saw drug paraphernalia in the vehicle, and on that basis requested permission to search the vehicle. Police then found “a quantity of suspected fentanyl” and additional drug paraphernalia containing suspected fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is considered 80 times more potent than morphine. The majority of opioid overdoses now involve that drug.

Two men were arrested in the incident – Diehl and Kyle A. Keller of Cumberland. Additional fentanyl was located on Keller during a body search, said police.

Both were charged with possession of a controlled deadly substance—not cannabis and release on their personal recognizance.

In his mugshot, Diehl is wearing a sweatshirt with the Morgan County 911 logo on the chest.

Morgan County 911 officials confirmed that there was a John Diehl working for the 911 center. On Thursday, 911 Director Ron Mason declined to comment on the criminal investigation or Diehl’s employment status with the county.

A few days later, Morgan County Commission President Sean Forney told The Morgan Messenger that Diehl was set to be placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the Maryland criminal investigation, but then failed to show up for scheduled shifts, which resulted in him being fired.