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Ex-drug lab worker pleads not guilty

Feb. 5, 2013 at 8:50 AM   |   Comments

SALEM, Mass., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts drug lab chemist has pleaded innocent to charges she falsified drug test records.

Annie Dookhan was arraigned Monday on some of the 27 charges she faces for allegedly tampering with evidence, Boston National Public Radio, WBUR-FM, reported.

She worked for the Department of Health as a chemist in the state's drug-testing lab, and allegedly falsified records and lied under oath about having a master's degree in chemistry.

Dookhan allegedly told police she only visually tested drug samples as they came through her lab but recorded that she properly tested them using the lab's equipment. In some instances, she allegedly contaminated samples that tested negative for drugs with a known narcotic, The (Lynn, Mass.) Daily Item reported Monday.

The discovery of her falsified records means thousands of police cases were compromised.

One lawsuit has been filed against Dookhan, the commonwealth, prosecutors and a police officer for the allegedly falsified drug testing, WBUR reported.

Jeffrey Solomon filed a federal civil rights lawsuit saying he was wrongfully charged with dealing drugs after the lab said he was carrying a substance identified as crack cocaine when police arrested him in 2010. Officers field tested the same substance but found it wasn't crack cocaine, the lawsuit said.

Solomon's charges were dismissed after Dookhan was accused of tampering with evidence.

Dookhan faces 17 counts of obstruction of justice, eight counts of tampering with evidence, perjury and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university, said a news release from Attorney General Martha Coakley's office.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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