Wednesday, February 5, 2014

FDLE Chemist Accused Of Tampering With Evidence In 35 Counties

Former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist  Joseph Graves

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) –The Florida Department of Law Enforcement ordering a statewide review of crime lab drug evidence after a state crime lab chemist was relieved of duty for allegedly stealing drugs.
Jerry Bailey, the head of FDLE, made the announcement Saturday morning in Tallahassee.  The FDLE traced the situation to a chemist who worked in the Pensacola crime lab after sheriffs officers upstate reported missing evidence in several major drug cases.
“So far, we’ve identified several dozen evidence submissions where prescription drugs were substituted with over the counter medications. As you know this has the potential to impact hundreds  of drug cases across our state,” said Bailey.
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney William Eddins’ Office started the investigation into missing prescription pain pills from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.  Officials learned that the missing drugs had been replaced with over-the-counter medications.
Investigators were able to determine that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by just one chemist.
That chemist has been relieved of duty.
FDLE is reviewing evidence from all cases handled by this chemist between 2006 and present.
Monday, FDLE teams will be deployed to impacted agencies to inspect all evidence handled by the chemist to confirm cases potentially compromised.  The chemist worked nearly 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties and 12 judicial circuits.
The counties with cases include:
Alachua County
Bay County
Calhoun County
Charlotte County
Collier County
Columbia County
Desoto County
Escambia County
Franklin County
Gadsden County
Glades County
Gulf County
Hamilton County
Hendry County
Hernando County
Highlands County
Holmes County
Jackson County
Lafayette County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Madison County
Marion County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Osceola County
Pasco County
Santa Rosa County
Sumter County
Suwannee County
Taylor County
Wakulla County
Walton County
Washington County

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