A United Parcel Service delivery truck driver from Maine who stole packages of pills intended for patients who are military veterans pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of theft from interstate shipments.

Jeffrey P. Wheeler Jr., 31, of Sebago appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland before Judge Jon Levy and entered his plea after waiving his right to have his case presented to a grand jury for indictment.

Levy allowed Wheeler to remain free on a unsecured bond of $10,000 with numerous conditions, including that he must submit to supervision by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office.

Between Dec. 17, 2013, and Feb. 5, 2014, Wheeler stole eight packages that the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility in Togus had shipped via UPS to veterans throughout the region. Each of those packages, containing pills with a total value of nearly $1,000, passed through a UPS distribution facility in Massachusetts before arriving at a UPS sorting facility in South Portland, according to a prosecution document filed with the court.

After receiving complaints of a missing package destined for a Portland patient, the UPS worked with federal agents to have dummy packages containing the prescription drug Percocet and acetaminophen set out at the South Portland facility. Wheeler took the staged packages on both Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, 2014, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Lipez wrote in the prosecution document.

“Agents subsequently approached the defendant, who agreed to an interview and (admitted) stealing VA packages containing oxycodone, suboxone and Adderal, which the defendant had used and provided to others since December 2013,” Lipez wrote.

Wheeler’s sentencing date was not immediately available. He faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine of as much as $250,000.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

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Twitter: @scottddolan