State Attorney’s from 35 counties began reviewing hundreds of drug cases Monday. There more information on how they’re dealing with the fallout of an FDLE evidence tampering investigation
State attorney’s covering 35 counties began reviewing hundreds of drug cases Monday.
Willie Meggs handles six counties for Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit. He said his office started going back through almost 50 drug related cases. All relied on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime lab in Pensacola to test evidence.
On Friday, Meggs was forced to ask for an extension on a trial after he discovered some evidence was swapped with over the counter pills. “We’ve got to go back and look over all of our cases that have been sent to that lab in Pensacola. Even the closed ones, the tried ones, it’s a pretty big task.”
On Saturday. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it had relieved a chemist at the Pensacola lab after finding prescription pill evidence was missing. Gerald Bailey, FDLE Commissioner says over the counter drugs had been substituted.
“We have not had a bad apple problem, and this individual would have been way down on my list if you had asked me for that.”
Bailey says this could affect thousands of cases in 35 counties across Florida. Meggs believes this is a byproduct of budget cuts to the department. “This is a spinoff. It would be much better to have more personal contact with our lab people than we do, but in today’s economy we’re not able to do that.”
And with compromised evidence, Meggs and others are unsure how pending or past cases will be resolved, including some who have been convicted and are now certain to appeal.