• Newly released documents shed light on breach at Mass. drug lab


    (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – The dust surrounding the Massachusetts drug lab scandal is starting to settle, and it appears disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan, of Franklin, may not be the only one to blame.

    FOX 25's Ted Daniel has obtained hundreds of new confidential documents compiled by investigators probing the massive breach at the Hinton Drug Lab. The documents reportedly show that Dookhan's supervisors were oblivious to the scope of her alleged misdeeds.

    Up until the very end, Dookhan's supervisors considered her a hard worker. Instead of firing her, they even allowed her to resign because they did not want a prolonged battle with her union.

    Dookhan is accused of mishandling thousands of drug cases. She allegedly tainted evidence and falsified results.

    Supervisors pulled her from testing duty when they learned she had forged signatures in June 2011; however, they did not get rid of her until eight months later.

    In fact, the documents say Dookhan's supervisors were prepared to return her to testing if she admitted her mistake.

    The paperwork shows major gaps in quality control at the lab, poor supervision, an absence of surveillance cameras, and a failure to track discrepancies.

    It appears Dookhan had some personal struggles in her life before all of the reported indiscretions came to light. She reportedly separated from her husband after having their first child. Prior to that, Dookhan suffered a miscarriage.

    When asked about her personal troubles, Dookhan is quoted in the documents as saying, "I have chocolate and work, and that is my way of dealing with it."

    The breach at the lab is having serious repercussions on the legal system in Massachusetts.

    Thus far, more than 100 drug defendants have been set free because of tainted evidence. Some of those who have been released are career criminals and weren't free for very long.

    Luis Quiles, 41, of Roxbury, is charged with stealing watches from the Macy's in Downtown Crossing. Quiles had been locked up on drug charges, but was released in September because the evidence in his case was handled by Dookhan.

    Torrie Haynes, of Dorcheser, was released in October only to be locked up weeks later on new drug charges.

    Dookhan is wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet while she awaits trial.

    Tuesday afternoon, the Boston Bar Association will host a discussion on the state drug lab crisis and its implications for the legal community. Panelists will include David Meier, a former state prosecutor appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to oversee the central office investigating the crisis, and Maj. James Connolly of the state police crime lab.


    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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