Jury indicts former state crime lab chemist Sonja Farak
Former state crime lab chemist Sonja Farak, left, seen here during her arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown on Jan. 22, was indicted by a grand jury on Monday. She is charged with four counts of theft of a controlled substance from an authorized dispensary, four counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of possession of a Class B drug. (AP File Photo) Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — A former chemist at the state crime lab in Amherst has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple counts of evidence tampering, drug theft and drug possession, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.
Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton was indicted by a Massachusetts grand jury Monday on four counts of theft of a controlled substance from an authorized dispensary, four counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of possession of a class B drug, according to Coakley.
“We allege that this chemist violated the trust placed in her by stealing drug evidence from the lab and in some cases replacing the samples with counterfeit substances,” Coakley said in a statement.
On Friday, Hampden Superior Court Judge Richard Carey allowed motions for new trials for nine convicted defendants whose evidence was handled by Farak.
According to authorities, state police were contacted in January by the Amherst lab to report a discrepancy in the controlled substances inventory numbers.
Farak allegedly mixed evidence samples with counterfeit samples to cover their theft and in two other cases, the samples were missing entirely, according to Coakley’s office.
Authorities allege that substances believed to be cocaine were found in Farak’s car and the area where she worked at the lab. Farak also allegedly possessed materials that were consistent with the substances used to replace the missing samples.
Farak, who was arrested at home Jan. 19, has pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown to two counts of tampering with evidence and to cocaine and heroin possession charges.
Farak was released on $5,000 bail in January and remains under a curfew. She is expected to be arraigned in Hampshire Superior Court on all the charges at a date which has not yet been scheduled.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.