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Jacksonville DEA task force officer accused of buying illegal drugs could face 15 years in federal prison

Joshua Earrey is accused of being an illegal user of narcotics while possessing a firearm. Police documents say he bought oxycodone from a confidential informant.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous, related report.

A former Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Agency task force accused of buying drugs from a confidential source could face 15 years in federal prison.

Joshua Earrey, from Jacksonville, had been working for FHP for approximately 22 years and has been assigned to the DEA Task Force since Sept. 2020. In 2009, he was honored by the Florida Cabinet as trooper of the year.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by First Coast News, the FBI found probable cause to arrest Earrey on Friday for being an "unlawful user or addict of controlled substances" in possession of a firearm.

The Circuit Court for the Middle District of Florida said in a press release Tuesday that the sentence for this crime is a maximum of 15 years.

A document released Tuesday says Earrey's bond conditions have been modified to allow him to go to treatment for drug addiction.

What happened? 

The criminal complaint says a confidential informant told the FBI that Earrey had been addicted to Oxycodone since 2021. The man he was buying the drugs from is a confidential source for the DEA, the document says.

Earrey had been the source's "handling agent" at various times between Jan. 2021 and June 2022, according to the court filing.

The source told the FBI Earrey was buying between 7 and 10 pills at a time and paying $30 a pill, according to the complaint. The source said Earrey began using the pills due to chronic back pain. He said he worried that Earrey was an addict and warned him to "slow down." 

In addition to alleged illegal drug buys alleged in the complaint, it shows that from May 2018 to Jan. 18, 2023, Earrey was written 43 legal prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone and extended-release morphine. 

Evidence against Earrey includes phone exchanging 4,572 texts and 3,164 phone calls with the confidential informant.

At one point, investigators say, Earrey's exchanges with the confidential source comprised 27.4% of Earrey's phone activity.

Earrey appeared before a federal judge in Jacksonville Friday and had his bond set at $50,000, court documents show. The judge ordered that he not contact any DEA or FHP employees without court approval, undergo mental health treatment and drug addiction treatment, as well as submit to random drug tests.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with assistance from United States Customs and Border Protection. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney William Hamilton.


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