6 employees fired from state attorney's office after drug use allegations

2 assistant state attorneys, four victim advocates involved

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala said during a news conference Friday afternoon that two assistant state attorneys and four victim advocates have been fired following drug-use allegations.

The conference was held 3:30 p.m. outside the Orange County Courthouse.

Ayala said the six employees either used drugs, were in the presence of drugs or witnessed drug use on more than one occasion. She said the cocaine and marijuana use did not occur while the employees were at the office.

"One of the most important things that we do as prosecutors is hold people accountable for their conduct; we must also hold ourselves as accountable," Ayala said. "With that being said, within my first week in office it was brought to my attention that members of our staff were not living up to that standard."

The employees were fired after an internal investigation. A criminal investigation is underway.

Ayala upset former Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton in the primary election in August, her first time running for the office. She worked under Ashton for two years before announcing her bid for office and worked as a public defender for eight years before that, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

She also said during the news conference that she will be working to bring more transparency and to bridge the gap between the community and the state attorney's office.