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State Drug Lab Closed After Tampering Allegations

JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass (WGGB) — The Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Jamaica Plain was shut down and taken over by the State Police Thursday after a former chemist there was accused of evidence tampering.

According to the State Police they took control of the lab from the Department of Public Health after the FY13 budget showed that it was needed.

Authorities held a press conference Thursday saying that problems uncovered by an internal Department of Public Health investigation into this chemist’s handling of evidence are more widespread than originally thought.

The State Police have conducted a thorough review of the lab’s protocols and operations as part of this take over. Officers have also been working with the Attorney General’s Office to further investigate matters of quality control and any potential wrongdoing.

Evidence was uncovered by police this week that led Governor Deval Patrick to close the lab Thursday morning so the joint investigation could be finished.

Authorities want to know what exactly happened, how it happened, and how many drug samples and cases may be impacted as a result of the alleged protocol breaches.

WCVB in Boston is reporting that while authorities investigate this situation 10 chemists working there have been put on administrative leave.

The state’s district attorneys and the public defender’s office will be kept in the loop on the findings of this investigation as they emerge.

State Police Spokesperson David Procopio says, “We are working to determine the exact number of impacted cases and are committed to conducting a thorough investigation that fully uncovers the facts and allows us to hold responsible parties accountable and ensure the integrity of state drug test results.”

Drug certifications previously done at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute will now be routed to the State Police forensic lab in Sudbury.

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