Sonja Farak, who worked for an Amherst laboratory which tested drug samples for police, was a popular witness in criminal trials. She however had more insight than most judges and attorneys knew. Recently, it was revealed that she not only was a drug addict but was often high on drugs, including during appearances in court. Now as many of 30,000 cases might have to be reexamined for before new trials or hearings.
Reports states that Farak was high almost every day that she worked on drug testing. She was a virtual laboratory herself of drug use — taking methamphetamines, ketamine, cocaine, LSD and other drugs. It is amazing that no one knew or took action despite her work on tens of thousands of cases from 2005-2013.
This is just the latest such scandal for the state. Roughly 40,000 cases have to be reviewed due to the actions of Annie Dookhan, who worked at a state drug lab in Boston. Dookhan was sentenced to at least three years in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to faking test results in criminal cases.
For a drug addict, Farak, 37, hit the jackpot in a lab with a steady stream of drug samples or “standards” submitted the police. She admitted that she regularly took the drug herself.
Farak has admitted ingesting lab “standards” – drug samples used as benchmarks to test against substances submitted by police for testing. She even smoked crack before a 2012 state police accreditation inspection on the lab. She also used the lab to manufacture crack cocaine.
Farak pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, stealing cocaine from the lab and unlawful possession in January 2014 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.