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Problems Found At Mass. Police Drug Evidence Lab

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Massachusetts State Police say a chemist at a drug evidence lab in Boston failed to follow proper procedures raising the possibility people were wrongly convicted.. WAMC”s Paul Tuthill reports.

   Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick ordered state police to shut down the lab Thursday amid an on-going investigation into the actions of a chemist who had worked at the lab for over 8 years.  State Police believe the chemist, a woman whose name has not been made public, deliberately mishandled the testing of drug evidence.  The chemist’s motive is unknown.  Investigators are trying to determine the number of drug samples and cases affected.  A state police spokesman said the lab primarily handled evidence from local police in Norfolk and Suffolk counties, including the city of Boston.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.