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Several North Reading DPW employees put on leave pending drug investigation

Several North Reading Department of Public Works employees have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of police and internal investigations into illegal drug use, according to police.

On Friday, John McNeil, 56, of North Reading, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws, four counts of possession of a Class B sunstance (oxycodone), two counts of possession of a Class B substance (oxycodone) with intent to distribute, possession of a Class C substance, possession of a Class C substance with intent to distribute, and possession of a Class D substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute, police said.

While McNeil is not a town employee, an investigation around him led to the arrest of Scott McDonough, 42, of Methuen, who is a member of the department of public works, according to police. McDonough was charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws and possession of a Class B substance (oxycodone), police said.

As a result of McDonough’s arrest, North Reading’s town administrator, Michael Gilleberto, said that McDonough and several other employees have been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations.

“I have been made aware of the police investigation and subsequent arrest of one of our Department of Public Works Employees. We will not tolerate illegal drug use by any town employee,’’ Gilleberto said in a statement. “We are conducting a full and thorough investigation.’’

Police said McDonough may face additional charges following the investigation’s conclusion.

“The drug epidemic is present in every community, and in North Reading, we will continue to aggressively pursue those who sell and distribute these poisons in our community,’’ North Reading Police Chief Michael Murphy said in a statement. “I am very pleased with the work of our officers, especially Lt. Detective Thomas Romeo, Detective Thomas Hatch, Detective Scott Tilton, and Detective Sean O’Leary.’’

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Both McNeil and McDonough were expected to appear in Woburn District Court for arraignments Monday.

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