Nicholas Meserve, a Lewiston police officer, was found deceased inside of his home February 8 just weeks after he was recorded pocketing fentanyl that had fallen to the ground three weeks prior on January 18.
A medical examiner ruled the 34-year-old died as a result of acute fentanyl intoxication.
According to independent investigators who investigated the cause of his death, the officer was video-recorded pocketing fentanyl from a Lewiston patrol car dash camera during the arrest of a suspect named Jamil Dabson.
Dabson was the passenger of a taxi pulled over by a Maine State Police trooper, who pulled him over because his headlights were off at night.
The trooper then searched Dabson for drugs and found 86 grams of fentanyl bricks in Dabson's possession.
Dabson allegedly attempted to flee the scene, according to News Week.
According to the independent investigators, Meserve is said to have "slipped some of the drug evidence into his pants pocket" as he assisted fellow officers who were picking up fentanyl Dabson had thrown to the ground.
The Lewiston Police Department said it was unaware of Meserve's drug problems, according to Lewiston Police Chief Brian O'Malley.
"All members of the Lewiston Police Department cooperated with the investigation, which disclosed that no officers had any knowledge of Officer Meserve's substance use disorder or his possession of illegal drugs," Chief O'Malley told WGME.
"This is a reminder that the opioid epidemic touches the lives of many in the community regardless of their wealth, race, religion or profession."
Officer Meserve's family honored and paid tribute to him on social media following his death.
"My dad was the best dad in the whole universe," his 9-year-old daughter recalled of her dad left behind by what truly has become an epidemic.
"We were always the best ones at daddy and daughter dances. He taught me a lot of new things about his job," she said.
"He told me what to do if someone attacks me. He made all my dreams come true."
Sadly, officer Meserve's daughter will now have to grow up without a father watching her dreams come true.
And that truly is a tragedy — regardless of his profession.