“Irregularities” Found in State Crime Lab Drug Samples

It looks as if somebody tampered with drug samples at the state crime laboratory in Anchorage. The state Troopers put out a short press release today saying that new equipment has shown small amounts of foreign materials in the so-called “reference” samples used to compare with and estimate evidence in drug cases.

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The release goes on to say that this discovery does not compromise the validity of past drug tests, or the lab’s ability to continue testing drugs. It says a criminal investigation has begun. It refers all questions to the state’s head prosecutor, John Skidmore, who would not give many more details
about the probe:

“I’m going to decline to predict how long it will take. But I can tell you that it is a top priority both of the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Investigations as well as the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions, so there are very experienced and dedicated people who are going to be working very this intensively until we have the answers.”

The drugs involved were codeine, opium, morphine, amphetamine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Skidmore said the size of a reference sample can vary, as can the length of time a laboratory uses it:

“How long any given standard has been in the lab or timing of when any foreign matter made its way into those standards are all subject to the investigation and so I wouldn’t comment any further than that.”

It’s not clear when the adulteration of the drug samples was detected. Skidmore says the lab began using improved drug analysis equipment when it moved into its new facility last year:

“And they, with the new instruments, detected some other readings that previously nobody had seen, and those other readings caused them to examine their known substances further and find some irregularities with them.”

The press release goes on to say that investigators will be notifying attorneys who may have had cases involving the lab’s drug testing standards.

sheimel (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8454 | About Steve

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