A second chemist at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory has been charged with stealing controlled substances that were presumably being held as evidence, according to a press release from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Sources say 35-year-old Sonja Farak will have to find a criminal defense attorney to defend her against charges of tampering with evidence, stealing a controlled substance from an authorized dispensary, and possession of cocaine, a Class B substance.
This week, a grand jury indicted Farak on the long list of charges after her alleged illegal activity at the crime lab, which is based in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is tasked with housing and analyzing illegal substances obtained by police.
The crime lab scandal, which rocked the state of Massachusetts, exploded last year, when workers at the Amherst Laboratory told local police that they had noticed a discrepancy in the amount of controlled substances listed in the inventory, and the amount that was actually in evidence.
After the allegations, state authorities launched an investigation, which led to the indictment of Annie Dookhan, who had tested drug samples related to roughly 34,000 criminal cases, sources say.
According to sources, Dookhan’s work led to the incarceration of more than 1,140 criminal defendants, many of whom have challenged their convictions due to the shoddy laboratory work. This, of course, has posed quite a headache for state officials.
Many observers, however, assumed that Dookhan’s actions represented an aberration. Today, however, that assumption is in question, after a new investigation determined that Farak also tampered with controlled substances that were held at the facility.
Farak was arrested at her home this January, and has waited three months for the felony drug charges to officially be leveled against her, according to sources.
Investigators claim that Farak’s alleged foul play relates to four drug samples that had been stored at Amherst. They further allege that Farak mixed evidence samples with counterfeit drugs in an effort to mask her thefts. In other cases, Farak simply stole the evidence, according to investigators.
In addition, authorities claim they found cocaine in Farak’s desk and personal vehicle. They also discovered drugs that allegedly matched those that had gone missing from the lab.
Farak’s next court appearance will be for an arraignment, although this is not yet scheduled. The Attorney General’s Office also notes that the charges are only allegations, and that Farak is “presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”