138 Foxborough Cases May be Affected by State Drug Lab Scandal
The Norfolk County District Attorney's office notified the Foxborough Police Department that 138 cases had gone through the now closed Jamaica Plain drug testing lab where a chemist is accused of tainting drug samples.
The state's drug lab scandal involving approximately 60,000 drug samples could have an impact on over 100 cases in Foxborough, according to Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary.
"Our community was identified [by Norfolk County District Attorney's office] as having 138 various cases that could be impacted," O'Leary said. "I know the District Attorney's staff has been going through all the various cases that have been handled at Wrentham District Court to find out which ones may be impacted by that particular chemist being involved in some fashion."
The cases that may be affected by the scandal are those where drug evidence was allegedly handled by chemist Annie Dookhan, who is accused of tainting drug samples during years of employment at the now closed Jamaica Plain drug-testing lab.
Dookhan is suspected of tainting perhaps 60,000 drug samples during her nine-year career at the drug lab. So far, the Franklin resident has been charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of falsifying college records by claiming a Master's Degree she does not have. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and is currently free on bail.
While it is too early to know the impact the scandal will have on the 138 cases in Foxborough, O'Leary said the allegations against Dookhan has caused a "great deal of frustration" at the department.
"I have a very talented staff that has spent in some cases hundreds of hours developing enough evidence to pursue individuals through the criminal justice system that sell drugs in the community," O'Leary said. "Certainly the alleged actions of this chemist has nullified to some extent this exceptional police work to put a curb to drug dealing in the community."
O'Leary said the department was first notified of the issue this past spring by the District Attorney's office but the severity of the scandal was not known until August.
"[The] District Attorney had sent out a memo in the spring [and] didn't really specify the extent of cases," O'Leary said. "Initially it was just perceived that it was a paperwork issue and it wasn't until the revelations they started coming out with in August that showed the problem area."
According to Jamaica Plain Patch, Gov. Deval Patrick has appointed the state's inspector general, Glenn Cunha, to lead a widespread probe of what went wrong at the State Drug Lab in JP.