Boston, MA - A drug lab scandal could land a former Massachusetts chemist behind bars, according to The Associated Press.
Suffolk Superior Court has arraigned Annie Dookhan on 15 charges including tampering with evidence and fabricating test results. To make matters worse, the scandal threatens a number of criminal cases that are currently pending in the state.
Dookhan has pleaded not guilty to "eight counts of evidence tampering, five counts of witness intimidation, one count of perjury, and one count of making a false claim of holding a master's degree."
As a result of her actions, judges have reportedly released hundreds of suspects from custody and temporarily placed their cases on hold. Authorities explained that, should Dookhan be found guilty of the crimes, other investigations could be affected by the drug lab scandal as well.
The Boston Globe explains Annie Dookhan was a chemist for the state government. During her time in that position, the suspect allegedly altered test results in six cases. Reports also suggest that Dookhan removed drug samples from an evidence room.
When all is said and done, authorities believe that thousands of cases could be harmed due to Dookhan's criminal behavior. The suspect's actions will also cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Although she remains free on $100,000 bail, Dookhan is forced to wear a GPS tracking device and has a curfew of 6 pm. However, defense attorney Nicolas Gordon said the restrictions were seriously affecting his client's social life. Magistrate Judge Gary Wilson seemed to agree; Dookhan's curfew was reportedly bumped to 10 pm.
"She's not a flight risk. It's certainly putting a damper on her ability to have any kind of a social life, interact with the neighbors and family and friends," he explained.
As punishment for her role in the drug lab scandal, Anne Dookhan could face several long years in prison. Even if she's convicted on the perjury charge alone, the suspect may serve up to 20 years behind bars.