Support the news

New Details Of Misconduct By State Chemist12:17
Download

Play
Passers-by approach the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, where a crime lab chemist spent years faking results. A second case of misconduct by a state chemist was reported by Attorney General Maura Healey Wednesday. (Steven Senne/AP)
Passers-by approach the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, where a crime lab chemist spent years faking results. A second case of misconduct by a state chemist was reported by Attorney General Maura Healey Wednesday. (Steven Senne/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

There's a new, deeply troubling, report about misconduct at a state drug testing lab.

The report by Attorney General Maura Healey alleges that Amherst chemist Sonja Farak got high off of drugs she took from the lab nearly every day for eight years.

By Fall 2011, Farak had nearly depleted the lab's stock of methamphetamines, and she even started manufacturing crack cocaine in the lab to feed her growing addiction.

This is the second case of misconduct by state chemist. In 2013, Annie Dookhan pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, perjury and obstruction of justice for falsifying drug tests. Her actions may have affected up to 40,000 criminal cases in the state.

Now, state officials worry that the number of cases affected by Sonja Farak could be just as high.

Guests

Evan Allen, crime reporter for the Boston Globe. She tweets @EvanMAllen.

Nancy Gertner, WBUR legal analyst, retired federal judge, Harvard Law School professor.

More

WBUR: Ex-Mass. Chemist At Amherst Drug Lab High At Work For 8 Years

  • "A former Massachusetts chemist was high on drugs almost every day for the nearly eight years she worked at an Amherst drug lab, according to an investigation released by the state attorney general."

The Boston Globe: State Chemist Was High On The Job For Years, Report Says

  • "Defense attorneys have pointed to Farak’s alleged misdeeds for more than a year, suggesting they were more widespread than law enforcement officials believed. Tuesday’s report provides the most detailed public portrait of her activities."

Massachusetts Attorney General: Investigative Report Pursuant To Commonwealth v. Cotto

  • "In early 2005, Farak began to consume methamphetamine every morning and, over the course of the next four years, increased her usage to multiple times a day. Farak admitted in her testimony that, aside from a few days or a week of sobriety, she was under the influence of methamphetamine at the Lab nearly every day during that four-year period, and that not taking the drug resulted in severe lethargy, irritability, and lack of production and focus, to the point where she would have to call out sick."

WBUR Special Report: Bad Chemistry

  • "In August 2012, Massachusetts officials closed a state drug laboratory in Boston because a then-obscure chemist allegedly “failed to follow testing protocols.” That chemist, Annie Dookhan, has been charged with deliberately manipulating drug tests, compromising thousands of criminal cases."

This segment aired on May 4, 2016.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news