Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida crime lab employee resigns amid drug investigation

A state crime lab chemist in north Florida has resigned during an investigation into missing evidence.

Joseph Graves submitted a resignation letter Monday, two days after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced an investigation into missing evidence that could compromise hundreds of cases. He could not be reached for comment.

The FDLE is reviewing 2,600 cases the employee handled involving 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 counties.

Agencies in the Tampa Bay area are also reviewing their cases. Local agencies typically send their evidence to the Tampa lab, but their cases are sometimes transferred to other state labs to balance out workloads, said FDLE spokeswoman Samantha Andrews.

The Hernando Sheriff's Office conducted a preliminary investigation and reported Monday that the number of affected cases is possibly fewer than five.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office hasn't found any cases in Pinellas County. In Pasco, prosecutors have found only one defendant whose case may be affected by a submittal to the north Florida lab.

Attempts to reach the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office Monday were unsuccessful.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys said Monday that the alleged theft could create massive problems for courts and law enforcement agencies throughout Florida and could result in some convictions being thrown out and sentences reduced. Some said it could taint cases from the department not directly involving the employee.

The chemist under investigation is suspected of substituting non-prescription drugs for prescription painkillers, FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said.

No criminal charges have been filed, but an investigation is ongoing.

Florida crime lab employee resigns amid drug investigation 02/03/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 3, 2014 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Photo gallery: Florida High School Track & Field State Championships, May 6, 2017


    View a gallery of images from Saturday's Florida High School Track & Field State Championships in Bradenton.

    Jefferson High sprinters Eyekeyle Gardner, 17, left, and Kourtney Lawton, 15, compete in the Girls 2A 4x400 Meter relay during the FHSAA Track & Field Finals held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
  2. Police: 8 dead in Mississippi shooting, including deputy


    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Authorities in Mississippi say a suspect is in custody after eight people were killed in a shooting, including a sheriff's deputy.

  3. Photos: 97X BBQ brings Grouplove, Coin, Milky Chance, more to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg


    Alternative rock fans got a jump start on Memorial Day partying on Saturday at the annual 97X BBQ, which brought Grouplove, Milky Chance, K. Flay, Coin and more to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Kasamba Kokayi was there snapping photos; click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

    Grouplove performed at the 97X BBQ at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on May 27, 2017.
  4. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  5. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.