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Bail revoked for Mass. lab chemist in drug case

Tuesday - 12/24/2013, 11:50am  ET

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- A former chemist charged with stealing drugs from the state crime lab in western Massachusetts where she worked is spending Christmas in jail after a judge revoked her bail.

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup on Monday granted the prosecution's request to revoke Sonja Farak's bail after cocaine was found in her system during a random drug test.

Farak, after initially denying taking any drugs, ackowledged snorting "a few lines" of cocaine at a party last week, Assistant District Attorney Beth Lux told the judge. Attending the party may have also violated the curfew provision in the conditions of Farak's release, according to Probation Department officials.

Defense attorney Elaine Pourinski asked Rup to stiffen Farak's probation conditions rather than revoking bail.

Farak had gone to the party last week after an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and did not know drugs would be present, the attorney said. It was her first violation after nearly a year of pre-trial release, she pointed out.

"This is a clear indication that she still has lots of work to do," Pourinski said, adding her client is under "extreme pressure."

Farak, 35, of Northampton, had been free on $5,000 bail.

She pleaded not guilty in January to tampering with evidence and stealing and possessing drugs. She removed drug samples from the Amherst lab, then replaced them with other substances while keeping the narcotics for her personal use, the prosecutor said.

More than 200 drug cases were dismissed from district and superior courts because Farak could not testify about the results of her drug testing, prsoecutors say.

Farak's case is not connected to that of Annie Dookhan, who worked at a state drug lab in Boston. Dookhan was sentenced to three to five years in prison after pleading guilty last month to 27 counts.


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