Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco sheriff: Deputy addicted to prescription pills, arrested on charge of doctor shopping

NEW PORT RICHEY — A veteran patrol deputy for the Pasco Sheriff's Office was arrested Thursday, accused of lying to doctors in order to feed his prescription pill addiction.

Larry Ray Sajko Jr., 35, of Hudson, has been with the agency since 1996. He began his career as a detention deputy and transferred to road patrol in 2010, covering northwest Pasco. Sheriff Chris Nocco said Sajko suffered a back injury while on the job, which led to his dependency on pain relief medication. The agency did not elaborate on what caused the deputy's injury. Sajko's arrest report says he was addicted to Oxycodone and Percocet. Last year, in an effort to get more pills, Sajko got prescriptions from doctors in Trinity and New Port Richey nine times without telling the doctors about both prescriptions, the report states. This is known in law enforcement as "doctor shopping."

A suspicious pharmacist contacted the Sheriff's Office in December, prompting an investigation. Sajko was suspended without pay on Dec. 30, and Nocco said the agency is in the process of terminating Sajko.

"We hold our members to a higher standard than anybody else," Nocco said.

Sajko is charged with withholding information from a doctor and was released from the Pasco jail Thursday on $2,000 bail.

He was unable to be reached Friday.

Nocco said it does not appear that Sajko was selling pills or that he was under the influence at work.

But Nocco said Sajko had a choice: When he realized he was addicted, he could have spoken with someone at agency.

"We would have gotten him help," Nocco said.

He said staffers are often reminded that mental health and substance abuse counseling is there for them if they need it.

"However, what Mr. Sajko decided to do was go doctor shopping," said Nocco, who since being appointed to the office last year has made fighting the prescription pill epidemic in Pasco County a focus of the agency. He said the situation is "sad" but that he is not going to tolerate such behavior in his office. He said he hopes Sajko will be convicted.

"We are going to treat him like any other criminal," Nocco said.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco sheriff: Deputy addicted to prescription pills, arrested on charge of doctor shopping 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  2. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery


    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want


    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  4. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer


    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]