Florida Law Enforcement Chemist Allegedly Stole Pain Pills Jeopardizing Thousands of Drug Cases

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is reviewing nearly 3,000 cases across Florida that were processed by a chemist in the FDLE's Pensacola Regional Crime Laboratory, according to a press release. It is alleged that for years the chemist stole pain pills from an evidence room in the Florida Panhandle, and therefore tainted thousands of criminal cases.

To read the press release from the FDLE and to see a list of all the counties potentially impacted by missing drug evidence, click here.

On February 3, 2014, two days after the FDLE announced the scandal, the chemist officially resigned. The chemist is currently under criminal investigation and could be charged as soon as next week.


Alleged Widespread Evidence Tampering.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the FDLE, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and State Attorney William Eddins' Office began an investigation on January 30, 2014, into missing prescription pain pills from an evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office. The missing drugs had been replaced with over-the-counter medications. It was determined that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by the same chemist.

The chemist allegedly worked for 80 different law enforcement agencies in 12 judicial circuits. FDLE estimates roughly 2,600 cases since 2006 have been linked to the chemist.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, it is not clear if the chemist was stealing the drugs to use or to sell. Click here to read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel.


FDLE Ordered Statewide Review of All Potentially Tainted Cases.


FDLE teams are currently being deployed to impacted agencies to inspect all evidence handled by the chemist. According to New York Daily News, investigators are physically inspecting pills to see if they are legitimate prescription pain pills or substitutes left to fake out law enforcement agents. To read the entire article from New York Daily News, click here.


Time to Change Country's Drug Policies?

When law enforcement agencies are doing the same thing drug abusers are doing, then it is time to rethink this country's drug policies. If those charged with enforcing the laws are unable to resist taking and using drugs, then it might be time to consider decriminalizing these types of offenses.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of PharmaciesPharmacists and Chemists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to pharmacies, pharmacists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?


What do you think about this widespread theft of evidence? What do you think will happen to the thousands of cases potentially impacted? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Sources:

Deslatte, Aaron. "FDLE: 2,600 Drug Cases Threatened after Pills Vanish Under Chemist's Watch." Orlando, Sentinel. (February 2, 2014). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-02-01/news/os-fdle-lab-evidence-tampering-20140131_1_evidence-criminal-cases-laboratory

Murphy, Doyle. "Florida Crime Lab Chemist Stole Pills, Jeopardizing Cases: Authorities." NY Daily News. (February 2, 2014). From: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/florida-crime-lab-chemist-stole-pills-jeopardizing-cases-authorities-article-1.1599703

Meale, Jenn. "Attorney General Pam Bondi's Statement Regarding Statewide Review of Crime Lab Drug Evidence." My Florida Legal. (February 1, 2014). From: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/AAB3D68E3D121B4985257C720063A096

Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "FDLE Starting Statewide Review of Crime Lab Drug Evidence." Florida Department of Law Enforcement. (February 1, 2014). From: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/News/FDLE-starting-statewide-review-of-crime-lab-drug-e.aspx


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.


Tag Words: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDLE, Florida Attorney General, AG, crime lab, evidence stolen, chemist, Pensacola Regional Crime Laboratory, Escambia County Sheriff's Office, prescription pain pills, pain pills, missing drugs, Pensacola chemist, prescription drug abuse, war on prescription drugs, criminal case, law-enforcement chemist, evidence-tampering, pharmacist attorney, pharmacist lawyer, chemist attorney, chemist lawyer, defense attorney, defense lawyer, health law firm, The Health Law Firm

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2/4/2014

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