For Immediate Release - January 20, 2013

State Crime Lab Chemist Arrested for Tampering with Evidence, Possession of Drugs

NORTHAMPTON – A chemist at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in Amherst has been arrested and charged with allegedly tampering with drug evidence and possessing drugs, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton, was arrested last night without incident at her home by Massachusetts State Police. She is 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. Farak will be arraigned on Tuesday morning in Eastern Hampshire District Court.

“We allege that this chemist tampered with evidence, placing the integrity of that evidence in question,” said AG Coakley.

The Amherst Drug Laboratory is charged with storing and analyzing alleged controlled substances seized by local and state police. On Friday, members of the Amherst Laboratory contacted State Police to report a discrepancy in the controlled substance inventory held in evidence.

State Police commenced an immediate investigation into the matter. Based on that investigation, authorities allege that the defendant tampered with drug evidence at the Lab.  In one instance, it appeared that the defendant had 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.

Upon further investigation, authorities determined that the defendant possessed what appeared to be Class A and B substances. 

The investigation into this matter is ongoing.

These charges are allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The matter is being investigated by Massachusetts State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Anne Kaczmarek and Criminal Bureau Chief John Verner of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.


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