NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) – A former chemist pleaded guilty on Monday to stealing drugs from a state crime lab in a case prosecutors said led to the dismissals of more than 200 drug cases.
Sonja Farak pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to theft of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence and drug possession, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. The 35-year-old Northampton resident was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, with 18 months to serve and the rest suspended during a five-year probation.
Farak was arrested in January 2013 after co-workers at the Amherst lab reported that drugs were missing.
Prosecutors said Farak tampered with four drug samples stored at the lab, in two cases mixing the drug evidence with counterfeit drugs to hide her thefts. They said cases were dismissed because Farak couldn’t testify about the results of her drug testing.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported the judge told Farak in court her conduct “clearly has eroded everybody’s confidence” in the crime labs, which can affect people’s lives and liberties.
Defense attorney Elaine Pourinski asked the judge to sentence Farak to four years of probation, saying she struggles with drug addiction and mental health issues, the Gazette reported.
“She is here to take responsibility,” Pourinski said. “She doesn’t blame anyone else. She blames herself.”
Farak’s case is not connected to that of former chemist Annie Dookhan, who worked at a state drug lab in Boston. Dookhan pleaded guilty to faking test results in criminal cases to make herself look more productive. She was sentenced in November to at least three years in prison. State officials said she jeopardized thousands of convictions.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes