A 32-year-old former Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab analyst was arrested Tuesday on charges of grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and nine counts of trafficking illegal drugs.
Investigators allege the man replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications while processing drug cases.
The former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist is currently free on bond.
The man was arrested at the Escambia County Jail around 6:30 p.m. His bail was set at $290,000.
FDLE agents claim that since 2006 the accused processed 2,600 cases that crossed 35 counties in Florida, including Hernando, Lake, Marion, Osceola, Pasco and Sumter. On Monday, 80 agencies were alerted of the alleged tampering.
St. Cloud police said that they are reviewing 16 cases from several years ago that could be linked to this case.
The investigation apparently began Thursday, Jan. 30 when Escambia investigators noticed that there were prescription pain pills missing from the evidence locker room.
The accused was relieved of duty Friday, Jan. 31 and issued his resignation Monday asking the agency to issue any money owed to him.
According to the FDLE, additional charges could be filed pending the results of this ongoing investigation.
These charges are undoubtedly serious. If convicted of tampering with evidence, this could remain on your criminal background for the rest of your life. Despite the circumstances surrounding your case, by being accused of this crime, you run the risk of being permanently labeled someone who destroyed or concealed evidence. Because of the severity of the charges, you must make sure and give tampering with evidence charges the attention they deserve.
A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton knows how the prosecution handles these types of cases. Don’t expect these charges to just go away over time. You must take an aggressive approach and protect yourself at the first signs you are under investigation. At Whittel & Melton, we can thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and identify any mistakes made by the police as well as any other legal concerns that can be raised on your behalf.
If you or someone you know or love has been charged with tampering with evidence in Hernando, Lake, Marion, Osceola, Pasco or Sumter counties, you must understand exactly what you are up against. A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can make sure you know what to expect from your case. Please call us today at 866-608-5529 for a free consultation or fill out a free online case evaluation form by downloading our free app from the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play.