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The Boston Globe

Metro

Man freed because of drug lab scandal arrested again

When Jamell T. Spurill was arrested by Boston police on a charge of illegal possession of a handgun Sunday, he did not talk about the loaded Walther P99C AS 9mm handgun that led to his arrest.

Instead, authorities said, he talked about his affection for Annie Dookhan, the former state Department of Public Health chemist whose alleged mishandling of drug samples has affected thousands of prosecutions, including one against the 31-year-old Quincy man.

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“I just got out thanks to Annie Dookhan,’’ Spurill allegedly told police. “I love that lady.”

Spurill was apparently referring to a cocaine dealing case in Plymouth County Superior Court that sent him to prison in 2011 for three years, after he pleaded guilty to three charges.

He was still behind bars last fall when attorneys sought his freedom on the grounds that Dookhan had so tainted the drug evidence in the case that Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office could no longer prosecute him.

Cruz’s office formally dropped the case against Spurill in January, citing the interests of justice, according to court records.

Spurill has been free since at least this past winter, the records indicate .

But that ended around 9 a.m. Sunday when Boston police pulled over a vehicle near Circuit and Fountain streets in Roxbury, after an officer noticed it had an expired inspection sticker, said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.

At the wheel was Shaki Muhammed, 27, of Norwood, who police learned had her right to drive suspended by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Spurill was a passenger.

Both were ordered out of the vehicle by police, who then conducted a search, prosecutors said. During the search, officers allegedly found the handgun in the glove box of the car.

The pistol, which had one round in the chamber and six in the magazine, had been reported stolen, prosecutors said.

Muhammed was charged with receiving stolen property over $250, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and driving without an inspection sticker, prosecutors said.

If convicted, she faces enhanced sentencing as a Level II armed career criminal, prosecutors said. In 2006, she was convicted of distribution of a Class B substance and possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, prosecutors said.

When Muhammed was asked for her permit to carry a handgun, she allegedly replied, “What’s that?”

Spurill faces charges of receiving stolen property over $250, unlawful possession of a firearm as a second or subsequent offense, and unlawful possession of ammunition as a second or subsequent offense.

He also faces enhanced sentencing if convicted as a Level III armed career criminal.

According to prosecutors, Spurill was convicted of possession with intent to distribute drugs in 2010; unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition in 2008; assault and battery in 2003, 2005, and 2006; and assault in 2000.

Both Muhammed and Spurill were arraigned in Roxbury Municipal Court Monday, where they pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Bail was set at $50,000 cash for Spurill and $15,000 for Muhammed, prosecutors said.

Since the drug scandal exploded into public view last year, Suffolk County prosecutors have stayed sentences or allowed a defendant to be released on bail, in 200 cases.

Prosecutors said about 61 people in Suffolk County have been rearrested since gaining freedom as a result of the Dookhan scandal.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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