, Salem, MA

February 4, 2013

Ex-chemist in lab scandal headed to Salem court

The Salem News

---- — SALEM (AP) — A former Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a state drug lab faces her sixth arraignment.

Annie Dookhan is scheduled to be arraigned today on an obstruction of justice charge in Salem Superior Court. She is accused of falsely claiming she holds a master’s degree in chemistry while testifying as an expert witness. Dookhan has already pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in five other counties.

According to a previous Salem News report, Dookhan is facing one charge stemming from an Essex County case, that of Raymond Garcia, who was arrested in Haverhill in 2006 and convicted two years ago of cocaine trafficking based on her testimony. Garcia, who was serving a 10-year prison term, was granted a stay of his sentence in December pending the outcome of a hearing on a motion for a new trial, said a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Dookhan was indicted in December on a total of 27 charges related to her alleged misconduct at a state drug lab. Authorities have said she told state police she sometimes would take 15 to 25 samples, test only five of them, but then list them all as positive for cocaine.

The scandal could jeopardize thousands of criminal cases.