It looks as if somebody tampered with drug samples at the state crime laboratory in Anchorage. The state Troopers put out a short press release today saying that new equipment has shown small amounts of foreign materials in the so-called “reference” samples used to compare with and estimate evidence in drug cases.
The release goes on to say that this discovery does not compromise the validity of past drug tests, or the lab’s ability to continue testing drugs. It says a criminal investigation has begun. It refers all questions to the state’s head prosecutor, John Skidmore, who would not give many more details about the probe:
“I’m going to decline to predict how long it will take. But I can tell you that it is a top priority both of the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Investigations as well as the Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions, so there are very experienced and dedicated people who are going to be working very this intensively until we have the answers.”
The drugs involved were codeine, opium, morphine, amphetamine, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Skidmore said the size of a reference sample can vary, as can the length of time a laboratory uses it:
“How long any given standard has been in the lab or timing of when any foreign matter made its way into those standards are all subject to the investigation and so I wouldn’t comment any further than that.”
It’s not clear when the adulteration of the drug samples was detected. Skidmore says the lab began using improved drug analysis equipment when it moved into its new facility last year:
“And they, with the new instruments, detected some other readings that previously nobody had seen, and those other readings caused them to examine their known substances further and find some irregularities with them.”
The press release goes on to say that investigators will be notifying attorneys who may have had cases involving the lab’s drug testing standards.
- The state Division of Insurance plans to ask the feds to offset its costs for the Alaska Reinsurance Program.
- After a mild start to December, it’s gotten bitter cold in Haines and Skagway, with temperatures dropping into the teens and single digits. With temperatures far below freezing, snowfall from the weekend is not likely to go anywhere soon.
- As temperatures rise, Arctic ice is retreating, making trips through the Northwest passage – from Alaska to Maine – a new summer reality. But until now, mariners navigating Arctic ice have had limited formal training. A professor at Maine Maritime Academy is working to change that.
- One shot was fired in an officer-involved shooting Saturday, according to the Juneau Police Department. Police say Sgt. Chris Gifford fired the shot that injured Jeremie Shaun Tinney, 38, of Juneau while officers were investigating a single-vehicle crash in the 16500 block of Ocean View Drive.