A second state crime lab chemist has been arrested and charged with allegedly tampering with drug evidence and possessing drugs, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Sonja Farak, 35, of Northhamption, worked at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in Amherst, and was arrested on Saturday at her home by Massachusettts State Police, according to a press release.
According to investigators, in one instance Farak allegedly removed a substance from a case that had previously tested positive for cocaine, and replaced it with a counterfeit substance that no longer tested positive.
Farak was charged with two counts of tampering with evidence, one count of possession of a class A substance, and one count of possession of a Class B substance. She is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday morning in Eastern Hampshire District Court.
Farak's arrest comes on the heels of Jamaica Plain State Lab Scandal in which former chemist Annie Dookhan has been charged with tampering with hundreds of drug cases. Farak allegedly worked at the Jamaica Plain lab until 2004, when she was moved to Amherst, according to WGGB in Springfield.
“We allege that this chemist tampered with evidence, placing the integrity of that evidence in question,” said Coakley via press release.
The Amherst Drug Laboratory stores and analyzes alleged substances seized by local and state police.
State Police were tipped on Friday by members of the Amherst Laboratory who reported a discrepancy in the controlled substance inventory.
Based on that investigation, authorities allege Farak tampered with drug evidence at the lab. And upon further investigation, authorities determined that the defendant possessed class A and B substances, but the press release did not say what the substances were.
The investigation into this matter is ongoing, and being investigated by Massachusetts State Police.