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Police evidence lost in Stuart hack attack, six suspected drug dealers walk free

Hackers were able to hit the Stuart Police Department with ransomware in April 2019, and now at least six suspected drug dealers walked away free after Stuart prosecutors were forced to drop cases for lack of evidence.

Police say the evidence is currently sitting in computers at the Stuart Police Dept., but hackers have locked investigators out of the files. The evidence could have put the suspected drug dealers away for years.

Those cases included 28 charges against six different defendants for crimes including possession of meth, possession of cocaine, selling, manufacturing, or delivering various narcotics, and illegal use of a two-way communication device.

The police department has changed the way they save and store evidence, and city officials are now aggressively training employees to identify phishing emails.