Politics

Rogue FDLE Chemist Could Have Compromised Hundreds of Drug Cases

By: Margie Menzel News Service of Florida | Posted: February 2, 2014 12:01 AM
computer and prescription drugs

Photo illustration / Credit: Shutterstock

A chemist at a Pensacola crime lab could have compromised hundreds of state drug cases, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said Saturday.

As a result, FDLE has begun a criminal investigation and a statewide review of all crime-laboratory drug evidence.

The investigation was triggered by the discovery that prescription pain pills had gone missing from the evidence room at the Escambia County sheriff's office. The missing drugs had been replaced with over-the-counter medications, prompting Escambia Sheriff David Morgan and State Attorney William Eddins of the 1st Judicial Circuit to call in FDLE.

On Thursday, Bailey said, investigators determined that each case involving missing drugs had been analyzed by the same chemist.

The chemist, who has been relieved of his duties but not charged, processed 2,600 cases for 80 law-enforcement agencies spanning 12 judicial circuits and 35 Florida counties since 2006.

The cases mostly affect counties in North and West Florida, but extend as far south as Monroe County.

Bailey said the motive was unclear.

"It could be personal use. It could be trafficking," he said. "We don't know."

He said there was no indication the motive was to compromise any criminal cases, but that could be the effect.

Beginning Monday, FDLE teams will be deployed to inspect all evidence handled by the chemist. Each regional special agent in charge is contacting local law-enforcement leaders and state attorneys regarding pending cases.

"We're going to start from zero," Bailey said.

In addition to the investigation, FDLE will review its laboratory protocols to prevent a recurrence. Bailey said FDLE currently administers a drug test upon hiring and, after that, "for cause."

"We're going to look at the rules and regs governing drug testing," he said. "But again, we don't know that this chemist was actually ingesting drugs."

Bailey also said he had spoken with Attorney General Pam Bondi, who offered the services of the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

The commissioner said he'd been advised not to release the name of the chemist, who is being compelled to use paid annual leave until his status is resolved.

"As soon as the state attorney sees that what is there is what we think is there, we are going to hurdle the bureaucratic obstacles and he will be terminated," Bailey said.

Bailey said he was shocked by the discovery and wouldn't have suspected the employee, who isn't cooperating with the investigation.

"The chemist has lawyered up," Bailey said.


Tags: News, Politics

Comments (2)

Carlos
8:14AM FEB 6TH 2014
They use the word "rogue" to make people think this person is unlike the rest of the FDLE Agents who are involved in not only drug trafficking but those who have used more than one date of birth on their job applications to hide their debts - and those who file false police reports - forget to mention witnesses who prove them massive evidence and such.

When member of any agency can lie, falsify create and or destroy evidence to protect and defend their criminal friends while abusing the honest moral citizens of the state of Florida - the entire character of that agency is stained, soiled and forever tainted until such time as those employee's are terminated for just cause and the entire agency comes clean as to the corruption within its ranks.

There are way too many cover ups (including shooting deaths and murders such as Murray Cohen and Michelle O'Connell) FDLE Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape tried to get this murder properly investigated but his own agency FDLE turned on him and used 5th Circuit SA Brad King to covered it up again with the help of FDLE for the thin blue line. Lies reduced to writing make a permanent record.

Agent in Charge Dominick Pape should have been labeled a "rouge" agent at the FDLE! A rouge is one who stands out against the main populist as a rare entity not a member of a group that is corrupt up to it's eyeballs.
let's have a little truth here
7:37AM FEB 3RD 2014
So the label this one a "rogue." These elite have to give everyone a label. Funny how they try to make this one out to be different that the rest. The are all rogues! They lie cover up for their criminal friends within their "thin blue line" and when something like this happens the first theng they do is cover up all the partners in crime and try like hell to make it evaporate in the media. (which their handlers control anyway.) This operation is a lot bigger than they will ever let anyone know. Laura Barfield was just a prostitute being paid with our tax dollars. She was supposed to be the breathalyzer expert that was going to nullify untold numbers of cases. These pill pushers are making millions and putting untold numbers of lives in jeopardy - not that they care - all the want in the money it makes!

They covered this up and did not finish the job in September 2011 - Everyone knew this guy was getting his "stock" from various well connected law enforcement agencies and schemes like "turn in your unwanted drugs at your local police or sheriff's offices, [ads like don't flush Grannies pills down the drain, like these people give a hoot about our water supply.] but they "just made it all go away."

This lab tech could not have pulled this off without some help. Someone had to be in place to ignore the facts that the original drug tested was replaced with over the counter drugs. Everybody is not stupid.

Gerald Bailey has been doubling dipping since Charlie Crist days. He is the only agency head that has worked under Rick Scott that hasn't quit or Scott had to run off - some of them more than once!

What about 24-year-old Daniel Porter who was arrested on Feb. 28 at a house in Jackson where police say he killed 31-year-old Seminole County , Fl Firefighter Jerry Perdomo in a drug-related crime. Porter told police that he owed Perdomo $3,000 and that Perdomo had threatened him and his family during a pool game.

Police have confirmed to the Bangor Daily News that they are investigating allegations that prescription pills are part of the case.

Perdomo had been running prescription pills to Maine for somebody. Where did he get the pills?

Police: Trooper helped distribute pills

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper from Lake County and his fiancee were among 16 people arrested this week on charges of conspiring to distribute tens of thousands of oxycodone painkillers, authorities say.
Justin Kolves, 28, of Grand Island, is accused of twice traveling to Connecticut to protect a dealer on drug deliveries, as well as promising protection on Florida roads, according to U.S. Attorney of Connecticut David B. Fein. Kolves reportedly was paid $1,600 a trip.
His fiancé, Jessica Douglas, 28, of Grand Island, was charged with accepting money on his behalf, Fein said. She is employed at “The Villages” HR Office.

If convicted, each could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. [Where is a poor FHP drug runner going to get this kind of money?]

"Operation Blue Coast" started with an arrest at a hotel in Stamford, Conn., on April 8, in which Drug Enforcement Administration officers recovered 6,000 oxycodone pills from a man who routinely traveled from Florida to Connecticut. The trafficker, whose identity was not released, agreed to cooperate and, over the next few months, made hidden recordings that implicated his cohorts, authorities said.
Kolves, a FHP trooper based out of Ocala, was one of the co-conspirators recorded, authorities said.

Also arrested were three Transportation Security Administration officers and one other lawman in New York who reportedly accepted cash and gift cards to allow large quantities of the prescription drug and large sums of money to be transported between Florida and New York airports.
"In these times, no one needs to be reminded about how dangerous it is when officers who have sworn to uphold the law accept money to 'look the other way'," Fein said.
According to court documents, the dealer said he would buy drugs in Florida and either drive them to Connecticut or fly them there where they could be sold for a huge profit. Fein said the dealer made approximately 65 trips from Florida to Connecticut by automobile or airplane, carrying up to 8,000 pills each trip.

"Prescription pain medication abuse is rampant in New England and this trafficking group allegedly preyed upon the individuals to line their pockets, while the law enforcement officers are alleged to have sold their badges and abused their authority to further the illegal activities of this organization," according to a statement by Steven Derr of the DEA.

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