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Press Release

Former FHP Trooper And DEA Task Force Officer Pleads Guilty To Conspiring To Distribute Narcotics, Defrauding The United States, And Illegally Possessing A Firearm And Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Joshua Grady Earrey (45, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute narcotics, one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, and one count of possessing firearms and ammunition while an unlawful user of controlled substances. Earrey faces a combined maximum penalty of 60 years in federal prison on these offenses, including a minimum mandatory sentence of at least 5 years for the drug distribution conspiracy. He has further agreed to forfeit the firearms and ammunition involved in these offenses.

According to the plea agreement, while employed as a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper and designated Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Earrey and a co-conspirator engaged in widespread and extensive corrupt activity from 2017 - 2023. These corrupt acts included the theft of money and illegal drugs that were seized as evidence during criminal investigations; providing the illegal drugs to others to distribute on his behalf; and extorting or accepting cash payments from drug dealers in exchange for protecting them from arrest by law enforcement.

Earrey and his co-conspirator stole more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana from evidence and covered up the theft by submitting falsified paperwork showing that the drugs had been destroyed. Earrey, who had an addiction to prescription opiates, also used his corrupt activities to obtain illegal drugs for his own use. On one occasion, he traded cases of ammunition that he had diverted from the Florida Highway Patrol to a convicted murderer in exchange for oxycodone. Despite knowing that his drug addiction made it illegal for him to have firearms and ammunition, Earrey continued to possess these items in violation of federal law. 

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

The United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and United States Customs and Border Protection wish to thank the Florida Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration for their cooperation during this investigation.


Updated April 8, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses