Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, working with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, arrested former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist Joseph Graves Tuesday evening, three days after revealing that crime evidence at an FDLE crime lab may have compromised cases in up to 35 counties statewide. Flagler County is not among those counties.
Graves faces charges of grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and nine counts of trafficking in illegal drugs. Investigators believe Graves, while processing drug cases, replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications. Graves was arrested at the Escambia County Jail. Bond was set at $290,000.
“The actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful. FDLE is working with State Attorneys’ Offices statewide to ensure he is held accountable for his actions,” said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our FDLE members who are working swiftly and diligently responding to this situation.”
In January, in conjunction with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney William Eddins’ Office, FDLE began an investigation into missing prescription pain pills from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators determined that each case with missing drugs had been analyzed by Graves. Graves was relieved of duty on Jan. 31, with pay.
He became a crime lab analyst in Dec. 2005, working in the Pensacola crime laboratory, and was promoted to supervisor in July 2009.
FDLE teams are inspecting evidence from all cases handled by Graves between 2006 and present to confirm cases potentially compromised. He worked nearly 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies spanning 35 counties and 12 judicial circuits.
The Office of the State Attorney, 1st Judicial Circuit William Eddins will prosecute this case. The investigation is ongoing. Additional charges are possible.