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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas