A Florida sheriff has released 11 people from jail after a deputy was fired for allegedly falsifying drug tests in order to make arrests. The deputy was let go on Jan. 14.

According to media reports, a state attorney notified the Martin County Sheriff’s Office that three drug cases handled by the deputy had suspicious lab test results. Following the tip, the office began looking more closely at the deputy’s cases and found a pattern of questionable drug arrests. As a result, the sheriff terminated the deputy’s employment and set 11 inmates free.

A representative of the sheriff’s office said that some of the released inmates were guilty of drug possession, but the conduct of the deputy opened all the cases up to reasonable doubt. A spokesperson for the office told media outlets that the sheriff would rather set free “100 people who are guilty” than incarcerate even one innocent person. One of the released inmates spent over a month in jail when the deputy found white powder in his van and claimed it was heroin. Lab tests later proved it was Tide laundry detergent. The deputy, who was only on the force for 11 months, has not yet been charged with a crime, but the sheriff said he could eventually be charged with misconduct.

Just because someone is charged with a drug crime doesn’t mean he or she is guilty. Individuals arrested for alleged drug offenses might contact an Orlando, Florida, drug charges law firm for help. The firm may investigate the case, challenge the prosecution’s evidence and work to get the charges dismissed. If necessary, legal counsel may be able to negotiate a plea deal that mitigates the charges and penalties.

Source: NBC News, “11 people freed from jail after Florida deputy allegedly falsified narcotics arrests,” Janelle Griffith, Jan. 30, 2019