Local Prosecutors Reviewing FDLE Breach Cases

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PANAMA CITY - Local prosecutors are reviewing several hundred local drug cases that could be affected by illegal activity at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Pensacola crime lab.

The lab supervisor is charged with stealing drug evidence as far back as 2007.

Prosecutors say the on-going investigation at the Pensacola crime lab may effect as many as 367 drug cases from the 6 counties that make up the 14th judicial circuit.

Former FDLE chemist Joseph Graves is accused of stealing painkillers from the evidence locker and replacing them with over the counter pills.

According to officials, Graves worked nearly 2,600 for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties.

"What we are doing at the State Attorney's Office is pulling those cases, looking to see which ones have already been disposed of and which ones are currently in the system,” said Greg Wilson, Chief Asst. State Attorney.

They're giving those open cases their top priority.

Wilson said, "What we are going to do is identify the ones with possible evidence tampering and we are going to determine what evidence is available and whether those cases can go forward."

The other concern is the number of closed cases the courts may reopen.

"State Attorneys are looking into a lot of these cases and it could overturn convictions,” said Capt. Emory Godwin, Calhoun Co. Sheriff's Office.

Bay and Washington counties have the most drug cases under review, but authorities say the scandal hurts everyone.

Godwin said, "It hurts law enforcement as a whole kind of gives us a black eye it may have happened in Pensacola but it still filters all the way back to Calhoun county."

FDLE officials believe graves tampered with 24 of the local cases.