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Ex-crime lab analyst allegedly stole, sold drugs

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida crime lab analyst was arrested on Tuesday and charged with stealing and selling painkillers and other drugs that he was supposed to be testing as evidence in criminal cases, the state law enforcement agency said.

Joseph Graves was arrested a day after he resigned from his position at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab in Pensacola. He was charged with grand theft of a controlled substance, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and nine counts of trafficking in illegal drugs. He was being held on $290,000 bond.

The department began an investigation when the Escambia County Sheriff's office discovered drug evidence was missing. A further look found other cases Graves handled where painkillers were swapped with non-prescription drugs.

Graves is accused of selling oxycodone, morphine and hydromorphone.

Law enforcement department Commissioner Gerald Bailey has said hundreds of drug cases may be compromised.

“The actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful. (The Florida Department of Law Enforcement) is working with State Attorneys' Offices statewide to ensure he is held accountable for his actions,” Bailey said.

Graves' attorney didn't return a message.

Graves began working for the department in December 2005 and was promoted to supervisor in 2009. He has handled about 2,600 cases, most of which are drug related. The compromised cases could affect 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 counties that had cases worked on by Graves.

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