For Immediate Release - April 23, 2013

State Crime Lab Chemist Arraigned 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 arraigned in connection with allegedly stealing controlled substances seized as evidence from the lab, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. She was also arraigned in connection with possession of cocaine.

After her initial arrest in January for allegedly tampering with drug evidence and possessing drugs, a Statewide Grand Jury returned indictments against Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton on April 1. She was charged with 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).

Farak was arraigned Monday in Hampshire Superior Court where she pleaded not guilty to all charges. Following the arraignment, $5,000 bail was transferred from Eastern Hampshire District Court 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 Hampshire Superior Court on June 5 for a pre-trial conference. Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder presided over the arraignment.

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.

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.

########

Follow us on Twitter – View our Photos – Watch our Videos