For Immediate Release - April 01, 2013

State Crime Lab Chemist Indic ted in Connection with Stealing Drugs from Lab, Tampering with Evidence

Defendant also Charged with Drug Possession

BOSTON – A chemist at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in Amherst has been indicted in connection with allegedly stealing controlled substances seized as evidence from the lab, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. She was also indicted in connection with possession of cocaine.

Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton, was indicted today by a Statewide Grand Jury on charges of Theft of a Controlled Substance from an Authorized Dispensary (4 counts), Tampering with Evidence (4 counts), and Possession of a Class B Substance (2 counts).

“We allege that this chemist violated the trust placed in her by stealing drug evidence from the lab and in some cases replacing the samples with counterfeit substances,” said AG Coakley.

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

State Police commenced an immediate investigation into the matter. Based on that investigation, authorities alleged that Farak tampered with drug evidence at the lab. Authorities also determined that the defendant possessed controlled substances that appeared to be cocaine. State Police assigned to the AG’s Office arrested Farak at her home on January 19.

Further investigation into the matter revealed that Farak allegedly tampered with four drug samples stored at the lab. Authorities allege that in two of the cases, Farak mixed drug evidence samples with counterfeit drugs to hide the theft and that in another two cases, the samples were missing entirely. According to authorities, controlled substances believed to be cocaine were found both in Farak’s workstation and in her vehicle. Authorities also discovered Farak in possession of materials consistent with the counterfeit material allegedly added to two of the drug samples.

Farak wasarrested on January 19 and arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court on January 22. She was indicted today by a Statewide Grand Jury and is due back in Hampshire Superior Court for arraignment at a later date.

These charges are allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Anne Kaczmarek and Criminal Bureau Chief John Verner of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office.

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