• Bail reduced for 6 defendants amid drug lab probe


    Bail has been reduced for six people accused of drug sales amid a probe into the state's drug lab testing facility.

    On Friday, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office asked that a judge reduce bail for Edward Dancy from $30,000 to personal recognizance as prosecutors assess the effects an investigation at a state drug testing laboratory in Jamaica Plain will have on thousands of cases.

    Dancy was accused of selling a substance believed to be cocaine to an undercover police officer in Chinatown in 2010. A chemist at the laboratory certified that the substance was cocaine.

    Another suspect, Marcus Pixley, was accused of selling cocaine to a police officer in the South End. His bail was reduced from $5,000 to $1,000.

    The district attorney's office asked that Pixley's bail not be reduced as he was also indicted for resisting arrest as a habitual offender.

    Gov. Deval Patrick's administration released figures showing that the chemist at the center of the probe, Annie Dookhan, had done an "unusually high volume" of testing between 2004 and 2011, in some of those years performing nearly twice as many tests as the Boston lab's second-most productive chemist.

    Officials remained mum on other details of the case, citing an ongoing investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General. They would not speculate on a motive for the chemist's actions, which could place in jeopardy thousands of convictions and pending criminal cases against drug defendants.

    "These two cases highlight the complexity of our situation," Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said. "What happened at the Department of Public Health lab was a catastrophic failure and there's no simple, easy, or one-size-fits-all solution. If someone is held or convicted on tainted evidence, we won't hesitate to take every appropriate step to bring the case to light and correct the record. But if there are credible facts and evidence to support the legitimacy of an implicated case, we'll work just as hard to ensure that the defendant is held accountable."

    Conley's office said the investigation also postponed two cases that would have likely been resolved by now.

    Two men accused of selling heroin to an undercover officer near the St. Francis House had scheduled a change-of-plea hearing on September 6. That hearing was postponed and both men were released.

    The other two cases were not identified.

    Conley said prosecutors are looking at the facts of each drug case handled by the lab and are trying to determine any accompanying charges that would be unaffected by the drug certifications.

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