Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, arrested a man Tuesday on charges of grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and nine counts of trafficking in illegal drugs.
Investigators believe Joseph Graves, a former Pensacola crime lab chemist, replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications while processing drug cases.
Graves began working as a crime lab analyst with the Pensacola crime lab in December of 2005 and was promoted to supervisor in July 2009.
According to a spokesperson with FDLE, in January after an investigation into missing prescription pain pills from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, investigators found that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by Graves.
Graves was relieved of duty on Jan. 31.
“The actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "FDLE is working with state attorneys’ offices statewide to ensure he is held accountable for his actions. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our FDLE members, who are working swiftly and diligently responding to this situation.”
FDLE teams are inspecting evidence from every case handled by Graves from 2006 to present. Officials said Graves worked nearly 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties and 12 judicial circuits.
Graves' bond has been set at $290,000.