State investigators have found at least a half-dozen drug samples scattered about the state lab in Jamaica Plain, documents show, raising questions about the integrity of all testing where indicted state chemist Annie Dookhan worked.
Investigators for the state inspector general, who have been combing through the closed lab for months, found a plastic bag containing “a white rock substance” and test tubes “containing unknown substances” in one supervisor’s office. They found pills taped to a lab bench cabinet and old samples, including marijuana submitted in 1996.
The findings, in a confidential report by the attorney general, add fuel to defense lawyers’ arguments that virtually all drug tests done there since 2003 are suspect, expanding the number of cases that could be affected by the scandal from the 34,000 handled by Dookhan to the 190,000 cases processed by the entire lab.
A leading authority on crime labs said that failing to secure and track all evidence is a fundamental failure in a crime lab.
“In a good laboratory, it’s important to be able to maintain an intact chain of custody of all evidence,” said Ralph Keaton, executive director
of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. “There’s no way you can track the chain of custody of anything found on the floor or taped to a desk.”
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week