For Immediate Release - January 22, 2013

State Crime Lab Chemist Arraigned in Connection with Tampering with Evidence, Possession of Drugs

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

Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton, was arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court this morning on charges of Tampering with Evidence (2 counts), Possession of a Class A Substance, and Possession of a Class B Substance.

At the arraignment, Farak pleaded not guilty to all charges. After the plea was entered, District Court Judge John Payne, Jr. set bail at $5,000, with the conditions that she report weekly to the Probation Department, remain drug-free, surrender her passport, and have no contact with lab employees or witnesses. Farak is due back in Eastern Hampshire District Court on February 22 for a probable cause hearing.

Farak was arrested on Saturday night without incident at her home by Massachusetts State Police.

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 all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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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