FDLE believes agency chemist stole drug evidence

6:53 PM, Feb 1, 2014   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating 2,600 cases handled by an agency chemist after learning prescription pain pills in a drug case were swapped out with over-the-counter pills.

The department announced the investigation Saturday. Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the Pensacola-based chemist handled cases involving 80 law enforcement agencies from 35 counties since he was hired in 2006.

It's not immediately clear how many cases have been compromised, but Bailey said it potentially means drug charges will have to be dropped and prisoners released if determined the chemist tampered with evidence.

Both Hernando and Pasco County have been impacted by the missing drug evidence.

The chemist is on paid leave while a criminal investigation continues. Bailey he said he hopes charges are brought quickly, at which point the chemist will be fired.

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