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Law & Order

Former Florida Crime Lab Chemist Charged With Evidence Tampering, Drug Trafficking

Tex Texin / Flickr

A state crime laboratory chemist who recently resigned amid allegations of tampering with illicit drugs seized by law enforcement has been arrested.Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, arrested former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist Joseph Graves on charges of grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and nine counts of trafficking in illegal drugs. 

Investigators believe Graves, while processing drug cases, replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications.

“The actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful," said aid FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey in a statement.
Graves was arrested at the Escambia County Jail at approximately 6:30 p.m. Bond was set at $290,000.

The Office of the State Attorney, 1st Judicial Circuit William Eddins will prosecute this case.

Graves became a crime lab analyst in Dec. 2005, working in the Pensacola crime laboratory, and was promoted to supervisor in July 2009.
Last month, state and local law enforcement began an investigation into missing prescription pain pills from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators determined that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by Graves. Graves was relieved of duty on Jan. 31.
FDLE teams are inspecting evidence from all cases handled by Graves between 2006 and present to confirm cases potentially compromised. He worked nearly 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties and 12 judicial circuits. 

Officials the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.

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