UGA extension office employee fired, accused of snorting cocaine in his office

3:38 p.m Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 Crime
University of Georgia
Michael Wheeler

A University of Georgia employee was fired after a coworker walked in on him snorting cocaine at his desk, according to details from a UGA police report and a school spokesman.

Michael Wheeler, a former agent with UGA’s Cooperative Extension, was not arrested in the incident, Hall County sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Stephen Wilbanks told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

University police took possession of the evidence and assumed the investigation, Wilbanks said.

He left shortly after coworker Karin Booth saw him using a rolled-up piece of paper to snort a substance police now believe was cocaine, according to the police report. 

Police concluded in the report, “it is reasonable to believe that Wheeler was ingesting cocaine.” 

They were called to the UGA Extension office, in the 700 block of Crescent Drive in Gainesville, about 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 27 to collect evidence turned over by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

That evidence included cocaine found in the top drawer of Wheeler’s desk, a piece of paper rolled into a straw, two of Wheeler’s name tags and brown paper towels containing a white powdery substance, according to the report.

At some point during the police investigation, Wheeler returned to hand over office keys and was intially given an administrative suspension notice.

He was later fired, UGA spokesman Gregory Trevor confirmed. The extension office is part of UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Wheeler, who lives in Buford, left the scene without making a statement to authorities.

A campus police spokesman refused to comment beyond the incident report and referred comment to a university spokesman. The university has not released a statement to the AJC.

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