Annie Dookhan: Chemist at center of drug lab crisis arrested (UPDATED)

The state laboratory in Jamaica Plain.
NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

The former state chemist at the center of the drug lab crisis was arrested at her Franklin home Friday afternoon.

Annie Dookhan, 34, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and falsely pretending to hold a degree. Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office brought the charges.

Television reports show Dookhan wearing a grey sweatshirt and jeans being led to an unmarked state police cruiser by a detective with her hands cuffed behind her back.

Coakley said during a press conference Friday afternoon that Dookhan’s “actions totally turned the system on its head.”

Speaking about a potential motive, Coakley said Dookhan purported to be an efficient, effective worker, handling a larger than typical caseload “and appeared to be proud of that.”

“The alleged actions corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system and there are many victims as a result of this – first of these is the defendants,” Coakley said.

While Dookhan was only charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, authorities have said Dookhan may have tainted thousands of drug samples that have already led to the release on personal recognizance of more than a dozen accused drug suspects. She is accused of not following proper procedures and not testing all of the samples she claimed she had. A former prosecutor has been assigned to head the review of thousands of potentially damaged criminal cases.

She also allegedly submitted her resume that claimed she held a master’s degree from UMass Boston.

However officials confirmed that she had only earned a bachelor’s degree from the school.

Gov. Deval Patrick closed the Jamaica Plain lab last month. It handled 8,000 drug cases a year and was previously overseen by the Department of Public Health. State Police took over that lab and others in July after a move by the legislature.

The crisis also led to the resignation of a top state health official.


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