2nd Mass. Chemist Accused of Evidence Tampering

(NECN: Julie Loncich) - Thirty-five-year-old Sonja Farak is now the second Massachusetts State Crime Lab chemist to stand accused of evidence tampering in less than six months.

Last Thursday, during a routine check, an evidence officer at the Amherst lab where Farak works noticed something awry with a previously tested drug sampling bag, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.

"They found it had been slit and that inside that packaging they found what they believed to be counterfeit drugs," said Coakley.

Those counterfeit drugs were allegedly substituted for cocaine and heroin and were allegedly found at Farak's work station the next day.

"The allegation is that this chemist removed substance -- the real substance -- substituted a counterfeit substance in order what we believe to cover the tracks of what she had done already," said Coakley.

Farak's family in Portsmouth, R.I. didn't wish to comment.

The Northampton woman's arrest harkens back to the arrest of alleged rogue chemist Annie Dookhan who prosecutors say compromised thousands of criminal cases while working at the state drug lab in Jamaica Plain. Coakley said this case differs drastically, but admits Farak was likely caught so quickly because of it. 

"If anything that case I think raised the desire of the State Police to make sure that we didn't have another set of circumstances like that," said Coakley.
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