Lawyer: "Uncharted Grounds" In DE With Tampered Evidence - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Lawyer: "Uncharted Grounds" In DE With Tampered Evidence

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DOVER, Del. - Tampering with drug evidence sounds more like a Law and Order episode.

But it reportedly happened in Delaware at the Chief Medical Examiner's office, which prompted the Attorney General's office to ask to suspend drug related trials for two months.

Sources tell WMDT the problem was first discovered back in January during a case for 43-year-old Tyrone Walker who was facing drug related charges. On the first day of trial, dozens of blue Oxycodone pills reportedly were missing from evidence, instead replaced with pink blood pressure pills.

That was just the start.

We're told evidence in more than 15 drug-related trials was reportedly compromised at the Chief Medical Examiner's office, with a number of cases involving oxycodone and at least one with marijuana in all three counties in the First State.

On Monday, state prosecutor Kathleen Jennings sent WMDT a statement:

"The missing evidence was discovered by the Department of Justice earlier this month during the trial stage of a Kent County criminal drug prosecution, and immediate steps were taken to examine the scope of the problem," said Jennings.  "As part of our response to this matter, we have taken additional measures to ensure the integrity of evidence in criminal drug prosecutions.  In addition, we have notified defense counsel and the Courts of this matter in order to ensure that the due process rights of the accused are protected."

As for the amount of employees that could be involved, 53 work at the OCME with six in the Controlled Substances Lab. Sergeant Paul Shavack of the Delaware State Police sent this statement in an email about the status of that lab:

"The Controlled Substances Lab remains secured as Investigators conduct interviews and continue to inspect and audit drug evidence to determine if there are additional compromises.

"Delaware Law Enforcement Agencies continue to inspect and audit drug evidence contained in their respective evidence facilities to determine if there are additional compromises or discrepancies. This is an ongoing process and is in varying stages and degrees. It would be premature to provide a timeline or number of cases discovered, until the conclusion of this process to determine the entire scope of the compromises.

"As far as the status of the Controlled Substance Lab, testing and analysis remain discontinued at this time. We are researching alternatives to provide this service in the interim as the investigation continues."

Defense attorney John Brady tells WMDT that if more evidence is found to be tampered with, trials could ultimately get dismissed.

"We haven't had such a systematic problem where all the evidence going to one lab it checks and determines controlled substances that could compromise hundreds of cases," said Brady. "We're going into uncharted grounds for this type of crime in Delaware."

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