A former Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab analyst is free on bond following his arrest in an evidence tampering investigation.
The FDLE, along with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, arrested former Pensacola crime laboratory chemist Joseph Graves Tuesday on charges of grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and nine counts of trafficking illegal drugs.
Investigators said they believe Graves, 32, replaced prescription pain pills with over-the-counter medications while processing drug cases.
"The actions of Joseph Graves are disgraceful," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "FDLE is working with State Attorneys’ Offices statewide to ensure he is held accountable for his actions. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our FDLE members who are working swiftly and diligently responding to this situation.”
Graves was arrested at the Escambia County Jail at approximately 6:30 p.m. His bond was set at $290,000 and has since bonded out.
Since 2006, FDLE agents said Graves processed 2,600 cases that spanned 35 counties in Florida, including Hernando, Lake, Marion, Osceola, Pasco and Sumter. On Monday, 80 agencies were notified of the tampering.
St. Cloud police announced it is reviewing 16 cases from several years ago that may be linked to this case.
The investigation began Thursday, Jan. 30 when Escambia investigators noticed prescription pain pills missing from the evidence locker room.
Graves, who was relieved of duty Friday, Jan. 31, issued his resignation Monday and asked for the agency to issue any money owed to him.
The FDLE said additional charges are possible in this ongoing investigation.