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Crime Lab Chemist Accused Of Selling Stolen Drug Evidence

Joseph Graves was charged with multiple counts of tampering and drug trafficking while affecting numerous drug convictions.

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By McCarton Ackerman

02/06/14

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A former crime lab chemist in Florida is being accused of selling stolen drug evidence that had been switched with over-the-counter medications.

Joseph Graves was arrested Tuesday and is being charged with grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with evidence, and nine counts of drug trafficking. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed in a written statement that additional charges are also possible. He is currently being held on $290,000 bail.

Last week, investigators discovered missing prescription pain medication from the evidence room at the Escambia County sheriff's office. Two days later, it was confirmed the missing pills were all tied back to cases that were analyzed by Graves. Throughout his eight years in the crime lab, Graves worked 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 Florida counties and 12 judicial circuits. Law enforcement officials have now expressed concern that Graves’ tampering of evidence could affect numerous drug convictions throughout dozens of Florida counties.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Gerald Bailey said that “the actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful,” while Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said her office would assist in the investigation. "Our battle against prescription drug abuse in Florida has been very successful over the last three years,” she wrote in a statement. “I will not tolerate any actions that compromise our continued success in ridding our state of this problem.”

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