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Press Release

Butte nurse sentenced for diverting drugs

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

MISSOULA  — A Butte woman who admitted to diverting drugs while working as a nurse at a Butte hospital was sentenced today to five years of probation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Nichole Lynn Zinda, 37, pleaded guilty in May to unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance as charged in an indictment.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

The government alleged in court documents that a hospital in Butte notified the Drug Enforcement Administration that Zinda, a registered nurse working on the post-operation floor, was discovered diverting hydromorphone cartridges in September 2020. A hospital review of  Zinda’s records showed an abnormally high number of transactions by Zinda regarding oxycodone and hydromorphone as compared with other nurses working on the same floor. Zinda was pretending to “waste” or dispose of the hydromorphone or was giving it to patients but then cancelling the orders in the system. The hospital terminated Zinda after she tested positive for hydromorphone as well as oxycodone/oxymorphone.  Zinda told investigators that she took hydromorphone from the hospital to prevent her from getting sick when she didn’t have any pills.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the DEA, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and St. James Hospital.












Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer

Updated September 8, 2022

Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 22-220