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DEVELOPING STORY: FDLE investigating missing evidence from over dozens of cases
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating a chemist from its Pensacola lab, after it was discovered that evidence (pain medication) was missing from several cases .
The investigation began last week, when the Escambia County Sheriff's Office discovered prescription pills were missing from its evidence room.
Investigators then found dozens of cases where prescription pills had been replaced with over-the-counter pills.
The FDLE says each case involving missing pills was handled by the same chemist.
And that chemist has handled nearly 26-hundred cases across the state since 2006.
The department is sending investigation teams to 35 Counties Monday, to inspect evidence in those cases.
Those Counties include Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa.
"We're going back and looking at each case that was worked and we're going to the evidence rooms of Sheriff's Departments and Police Departments around the state, and actually looking at the prescription medications to see if that particular package is in fact a prescription and not an over-the-counter calcium tablet."
Bailey says that depending on what investigators find, it's possible that drug charges in those cases could be dropped and prisoners could be released.
So far the chemist has not been charged with any crime.
He has been relieved of all his duties and is now on paid leave.
FDLE says he will be fired immediately if it's confirmed that he stole the prescription pills.
We talked to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan about how his office discovered the missing evidence.
Morgan says his deputies were going through a routine process, getting rid of old evidence, when they realized something was wrong.
"Our evidence technicians were going through that process when they discovered some envelopes that had been tampered with. And the further investigation showed that some of the evidence was missing. And so we immediately launched and internal investigation. We notified our criminal investigative division. We also contacted the state attorneys office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement because it involved narcotics."
We are keeping a close eye on this developing story and will continue to bring you new information as soon as we get it.