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Former Deputy In Critical Condition

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A former deputy wanted by police for hitting two area pharmacies in search of pain pills is still in critical condition, but he is improving after suffering a suspected overdose Saturday.

Santa Fe Sheriff’s Lt. William Pacheco said 43-year-old George Smith was showing improvement Monday afternoon after being found in an Albuquerque hotel room Saturday. A desk clerk at the hotel had called in law enforcement.

Pacheco, whose agency is working with city police to investigate the robberies, said investigators served a search warrant on the hotel room and recovered bottles of hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller.

Pacheco said the search warrant, and its return detailing what deputies found in the room, will be available later this week.

Smith is charged with an attempted robbery at one pharmacy and a successful robbery at another. The first occurred Dec. 17 at Wiley Chemists pharmacy on Hospital Drive. A man armed with a gun walked in and demanded hydrocodone. He aimed a gun at a pharmacist but left after being told the pharmacy had no hydrocodone.

The second occurred the following day at Medicap Pharmacy in Eldorado’s Agora Shopping Center. Pacheco said the robber got away with about 500 tablets of a narcotic painkiller.

Smith’s wife, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dorie Biagianti-Smith, confronted Smith after seeing a news report Tuesday with an image of the robber. He left their home and she called Santa Fe Police.

Smith worked as a deputy for the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office in 2011 after about 15 years as a deputy in South Carolina. He also worked briefly as an officer with the Española Police Department.

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