This was one of the most interesting coverup stories I’ve read. It covers the story of Annie Dookan, who falsified drugs tests and helped wrongfully convict many people, and the similarities to Sonja Farak, who smoked crack and took LSD while testing for drugs and filling out reports. The coverup is worse than the crime, and they wanted to keep all of those wrongful convictions hidden from the public and those convicted after Farak and Dookan were exposed.
For years, her drug of choice was liquid methamphetamine; she discovered a big bottle of it in the fridge of her lab. When she polished off the meth oil, Farak switched to cocaine, helping herself to big and small chunks of the seizures cops sent in. It was absurdly easy to do so. The Amherst site was decrepit and woefully mismanaged. It performed no routine audits and placed no cameras in the halls; employees had carte blanche access to the drug safe. So rudderless was the lab that Farak smoked crack in the restroom and cooked batches beneath the site’s one working fume hood. Legally unfit to drive home at night, she was nonetheless allowed to do sensitive tests on samples she’d smoked or snorted herself.
This is the second massive scandal in five months. In August 2012, a chemist named Annie Dookhan was busted for faking tens of thousands of drug tests at her Boston lab, always in favor of the prosecution. Worse, when she was feeling especially helpful, she’d add bogus weight to a borderline sample, pushing the charge from distribution to narco-trafficking.
But those defendants were never notified of Farak’s misconduct. In fact, five years after her arrest on January 19th, 2013, very few of the people she helped to imprison have been told that they’re the victims of state crimes. Instead, in the days after Farak was taken in and charged with drug theft and tampering, the attorney general’s office embarked on an egregious fraud. It lied to the DAs in Western Massachusetts, gave false information to two Superior Court judges and covered up documents that proved Farak’s years-long addiction, blocking every legal bid to view them. Lastly, it contrived to keep thousands of people in jail, even after the evidence came to light.
Rolling Stone has obtained Farak’s grand-jury testimony, diaries of her omnivorous decade-long drug use, and treatment records furnished by her therapists. Those pages richly document the events of that day. On the morning of January 9th, Farak helped herself to multiple samples of coke. Before lunch, she was assigned a vial of liquid acid and downed some of its contents in the lab. For 10 hours, she was trapped in an R. Crumb comic. As she’d later tell a grand jury, she was “freaking out.” At one point, she found herself “crawling on the floor . . . trying to find crack, which I thought was there.” Nonetheless, she continued to test samples that day.