Coakley: Neither Drugs Nor Money Motivated JP Drug Lab 'Rogue Chemist' Annie Dookhan

It still isn't clear what drove a JP State Drug Lab chemist allegedly to taint evidence in thousands of cases. The attorney general says two common reasons don't appear to apply: a drug habit or money trouble.

What could possibly drive a chemist responsible for analyzing drugs seized in criminal cases to taint the evidence thousands of times? 

It's one of the big unanswered questions in the sprawling scandal that officials say stems from the actions of one JP State Drug Lab chemist — Annie Dookhan.

Dookhan was arrested Friday at her Franklin home on two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of falsely pretending to hold a college degree. She was scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m.

Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose office has been investigating the scandal, spoke to the press from her Boston office. She said that, so far, no clear motive has emerged for Dookhan tampering with the evidence in as many as 34,000 cases.

But Coakley did say two common reasons a drug lab chemist might go rogue don't appear to apply: a drug habit or money trouble. Dookhan appears to have had neither.

Instead, a drive to be acknowledged as a good worker may be behind Dookhan's years-long alleged spree. Dookhan processed two or three times the drugs than her peers, Coakley said.

"[She] appeared to be proud of that in that she was thinking she was an effective worker," the state's chief law enforcement official said.

Whatever the motive, Coakley said the state is focused on dealing with the fallout.

"Uppermost is to get this right for individual defendants and make sure this doesn’t happen again," Coakley said. "Her actions totally turned the system on its head."

Thousands of convicted drug dealers could go free if their cases were based on evidence handled by Dookhan. Several have already done so.

Coakley said Friday's charges are not the end of criminal charges Dookhan is likely to face. The two felony counts of obstruction of justice could bring 10 years in prison each, the attorney general said.

The charge about claiming a false college degree comes from testimony she gave in 2010 that she has a master's degree in chemistry. Prosecutors say she only had an undergraduate degree.

For all of Jamaica Plain Patch's coverage of the JP Drug Lab Scandal, please visit our topic page on the issue.

charles jesus October 02, 2012 at 10:16 PM
charles jesus October 02, 2012 at 11:10 PM
hello my name is cj. I was convicted of drug sales to an undercover officer in a school zone in boston commons back on April of 09.and thats not the only one i have been convicted of. now i just recentley got out of prison even though i pled guilty to these crimes it pleases me here that the hole entire system is flipped up side down. i wish they could let everyone out.except crimes against women and children of course. now i here from all the media becouse i have finished my sentence already the tax payers owes me money.i love america..thanks
BTB October 13, 2012 at 04:27 AM
"Dookhan tampering with the evidence in as many as 34,000 cases." And this is called JUSTICE. This was plain EVIL. Hold her accountable. Add up the total time handed out in sentencing to all those wrongly convicted and that's the time she should be doing.


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