Irregularities have been found in controlled samples of illegal drugs at the state crime lab. This has resulted in an audit of remaining illegal drugs samples and a criminal investigation. The problem was brought to the attention of the Department of Law on Friday. According to the Department of Law, prosecutors on Monday asked for continuances in five drug cases while prosecutors and State Troopers assess the issue. These continuances were requested in part to determine if new exculpatory evidence exists in these cases since some of the test results may have been compromised.
According to the Department of Law, foreign matter was discovered in six standards: morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, opium, codeine, and amphetamine. An audit of the Crime Lab’s controlled substance reference standards is underway. The Crime Lab is also notifying its accrediting body, The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. The irregularities were discovered when new, more sensitive testing instruments began to be used by the Crime Lab. The discovery of irregularities in the standards has prompted a broader review, to include a criminal investigation, which is being performed by the Alaska State Troopers. The Anchorage Daily News recently ran a story on this issue. The article can be found here.
The extent of the problem at the State Crime Lab is unclear. It is unclear, for instance, what the scope of the criminal investigation is. It may be, for instance, that there was a single person in the crime lab taking illegal drugs on his own, or it may be that there is a much different problem. At this point it is unclear. What is clear is that we should continue to follow this issue closely and hope the Anchorage Daily News continues to keep the community informed.
If you have been charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. Criminal convictions can result in court required substance abuse treatment and can affect employment applications. Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-771-9002 for a free case assessment. You can also find more information on our Frequently Asked Questions page or our Blog page.