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:
Santa Rosa County