FDLE suspends Pensacola crime lab chemist

Cases involve missing prescription pain pills

Published On: Feb 01 2014 12:43:49 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 01 2014 09:10:01 PM EST
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey announced Saturday  that FDLE will review of all cases processed by a chemist involving missing prescription pain pills in the Pensacola Regional Crime Laboratory.

Last week, in conjunction with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and State Attorney William Eddins' Office, FDLE began an investigation into missing prescription pain pills from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. The missing drugs had been replaced with over-the-counter medications.

On Thursday, investigators determined that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by one Pensacola chemist. FDLE Office of Executive Investigations has opened a criminal investigation and the chemist has been relieved of duty.

FDLE is reviewing evidence from all cases handled by this chemist between 2006 and present.

Each regional Special Agent in Charge is contacting local law enforcement leaders and state attorneys so that they may take appropriate action regarding pending cases.

Beginning 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 35 counties are Alachua, Bay, Calhoun, Charlotte, Collier, Columbia, Desoto, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Glades, Gulf, Hamilton, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Leon, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Okaloosa, Osceola, Pasco, Santa Rosa, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton and Washington.