Ex-drug lab worker indicted

Dec. 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM
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BOSTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A former chemist in the Massachusetts state drug lab faces a 27-count indictment alleging she botched evidence and forged test results, officials said.

Annie Dookhan, 34, whose alleged misdeeds have sent ripples throughout the state's penal system and have already led to the overturned convictions of multiple accused drug dealers -- and could lead to thousands more -- will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley told The Boston Globe Monday.

Dookhan was a chemist at the state's drug lab where evidence samples were tested. Investigators said Dookhan did not perform chemical tests but certified she did. They also say she illegally combined samples she knew were not drugs with ones that were. She also allegedly forged her boss' initials to cover up the misdeeds and when called to testify as a prosecution witness, lied and said she had a masters degree from the University of Massachusetts. Coakley's office said Dookhan never attended graduate school.

The indictment includes 17 counts of obstruction of justice and 10 other charges, including tampering with evidence, perjury and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university, Coakley said.

"We allege that Annie Dookhan tampered with drug evidence and fabricated test results on multiple occasions," Coakley said in a statement. "Her alleged actions have sent ripple effects throughout the criminal justice system. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to fix this situation and restore trust in the criminal justice system."

She had worked at the Massachusetts drug lab since 2003, but was fired by Gov. Deval Patrick this year amid the allegations.

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