DA’s dismissing thousands of drug cases related to tampered evidence

Sonja Farak pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing drugs and tampering with evidence at an Amherst crime lab

sonja farak
In this WWLP file image from 2013, former drug lab chemist Sonja Farak is seen during her arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The fallout from a case of tainted drug evidence is impacting Hampshire County, where 1,500 cases will be dismissed.

Nearly 6,000 drug convictions could be thrown out because drugs were mishandled by former Amherst crime-lab chemist Sonja Farak.

Prosecutors said Farak went to work high every day for nearly eight years as a crime lab chemist in Amherst. The crime laboratory in Amherst stores and analyzes alleged controlled substances seized by local and state police.

Northwestern and Hampden District Attorneys, along with four other prosecutors, made the announcement on Thursday. The Northwestern DA’s Office said nearly 1,500 criminal cases are expected to be dismissed.

Read More: Related Coverage

“[I] personally would like to know what level of drug offenders are involved,” Whately resident Jayney Reino told 22News. “You know, what areas of this region would be affected.”

Nearly 3,940 district and juvenile court drug convictions in Hampden County will also be dismissed.

Sonja Farak pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing drugs and tampering with evidence at the Amherst lab.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni told 22News an additional 1,000 superior court cases are also currently under review.