AG Report: Drug Lab Chemist Admits To Tampering, ‘I Screwed Up Big Time’
BOSTON (CBS/AP) – The chemist at the center of the state drug lab scandal reportedly told State Police investigators that “I messed up. I messed up bad. It’s my fault.”
Annie Dookhan admitted to detectives during an August 28 visit to her home that she forged co-workers’ signatures, faked tests, and knowingly disregarded protocol on drug evidence for up to three years, according to a state police report.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports
Dookhan reportedly said her alleged misconduct included “a few times” where she changed negative drug test results to positive.
“I screwed up big time,” she said, according to the report by investigators for Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office. “I messed up bad, it’s my fault. I don’t want the lab to get in trouble.”
In an interview with investigators in August, Dookhan first denied doing anything wrong when analyzing drug samples, then changed her story when they confronted her with a cocaine sample that tested positive in her analysis but came back negative when retested by the Boston Police Department.
She admitted doing something called dry labbing, where she tested some samples properly but just looked at others and guessed that they were the same drug as the properly tested ones. If a second test called the results into question, she would tamper with the drugs by concentrating them or contaminating them with other drugs so it did not look like she had improperly labeled them.
“Dookhan explained that this was what she did to get more work done,” investigators wrote in their report.
Dookhan also told investigators she routinely skirted proper procedures by looking up data for assistant district attorneys who called her directly rather than going through the evidence department. She says none ever asked her to do anything improper in her analysis or findings.
The report, first obtained by The Boston Globe, says Dookhan told an investigator she was going through a long divorce and had no money for an attorney.
Massachusetts officials identified more than 1,100 defendants serving state sentences based at least in part on drug tests she performed. A handful of defendants already have been freed or had their sentences suspended.
As part of the fallout, Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach resigned; supervisor at the lab Linda Han, the Director of Bureau of Lab Sciences, resigned; and supervisor Julie Nassif, the Director of the Analytic Chemistry Division, was fired.
Dookhan hasn’t been charged, but the state attorney general’s office is investigating.
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