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Report: Southborough police hold drugs for years

The Telegram & Gazette reported on Sunday that seized evidence samples being kept at the police station include heroin, cocaine, marijuana and Ecstasy, prescription medications OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax and paraphernalia such as crack pipes and grinders.

The newspaper said it obtained a list of 745 seized items in an open records request.

Chief Jane Moran referred questions to a lawyer for the town.

The town’s labor counsel, Joshua R. Coleman, said police officials earlier this month submitted a request to the district attorney to destroy 386 pieces of evidence.

He says 162 items are related to open cases, including non-criminal marijuana citations.

Other area police departments have procedures that make destruction of evidence routine.

At the Worcester Police Department, the evidence custodian and his supervisor each destroys evidence while a police official from another agency witnesses the process, spokeswoman Kathleen A. Daly said.

Only drugs that are used in open cases are kept in evidence until the conclusion of the case, she said. Worcester police avoid stockpiling large quantities of drugs by destroying them every three months.

Leicester Police Chief James Hurley declined comment on his department’s procedures, other than saying: “We do it on a regular basis.”

Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Grafton-based Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, said state guidelines do not govern police handling of seized drugs.

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