Second Mass. drug chemist arrested

Jan. 21, 2013 at 7:57 AM

BOSTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- A second Massachusetts drug-lab chemist was arrested for allegedly tampering with evidence, leaving the state only one lab for testing evidence, officials said.

Police arrested Sonja Farak, 35, Saturday night for allegedly stealing cocaine and heroin from evidence she had tested and replaced with counterfeit substances in her job for the Massachusetts Department of Health, the Boston Herald reported Sunday.

The arrest came months after another drug-lab chemist, Annie Dookhan, 35, was arrested for alleged malfeasance.

Dookhan, who also worked for the Department of Health as a chemist in the state's drug-testing lab, and allegedly falsified test records and lied under oath about having a master's degree in chemistry, faces a total of 27 indictments from a statewide grand jury, the Herald reported.

Dookhan allegedly only visually tested drug samples as they came through her lab, but recorded that she properly tested them using the lab's equipment. The discovery of her falsified records means thousands of police cases were compromised.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said Farak's case is different from Dookhan's because police found no proof her actions changed the results of testing the evidence, The Boston Globe reported. Farak's actions did not appear to affect defendants' due process rights, she said.

For now, Farak is only charged in two cases, though if authorities find other samples she replaced with counterfeit substances, the charges could change, the Globe reported.

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