Former crime lab analyst facing drug charges

Atlanta’s CBS TV affiliate is reporting that a former crime lab analyst is being accused of taking and then selling drugs he was tasked with testing. The man was arrested yesterday after resigning from his job a day earlier.

He now faces drug trafficking charges, as well as charges of grand theft of controlled substances and tampering with or fabricating evidence in criminal cases.

The former crime analyst is south of Atlanta, in Tallahassee, Florida, but his case illustrates one of the problems law enforcement officials can have when they file drug charges: in too many situations, evidence is tampered with or improperly tested.

In this case, the man is charged with stealing and selling morphine, oxycodone and hyrdomorphone.

According to the media report, a state law enforcement investigation of the man began when a county sheriff’s department learned of missing drug evidence. When investigators examined cases handled by the crime lab analyst, they reportedly found instances in which over-the-counter drugs had been substituted for illegal narcotics that were to be held as evidence.

A state law enforcement commissioner admitted that the alleged actions of the lab analyst might have compromised hundreds of drug prosecutions. One estimate said cases in 35 Florida counties could be impacted.

The suspect began working at the crime lab late in 2005 and was made a supervisor four years later. In his career, he has worked on more than 2,500 cases, most drug-related.

Defendants in potentially compromised cases should obviously speak with their criminal defense attorneys about the possible impact of the crime lab analyst’s case on them.

Source: CBS Atlanta, “Florida crime lab analyst arrested on drug charges,” Associated Press, Feb. 4, 2014