SFPD Drug Lab Scandal Deepens

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Mar 29, 2010  |  Updated 11:15 AM PDT
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SFPD Drug Lab Scandal Deepens

Ripple effect far worse than thought

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The fallout from an investigation involving a former employee accused of stealing cocaine from the San Francisco Police Department drug lab may be far worse than first thought.

Prosecutors say more than 1,000 drug cases could ultimately be dropped as a result of suspected tampering at the crime lab. Prosecutors spent the weekend going through mounds of evidence and they say they discovered the contamination at the lab was much greater than originally believed.

Accusations that former drug technician 60-year-old Deborah Madden stole cocaine from the lab for her own use triggered the investigation and two separate independent audits. She has yet to be charged in the case but the accusations have had a ripple effect that has not yet settled.

Since the scandal broke earlier this month, prosecutors have dismissed 500 drug cases. Now, another 1,400 felony and misdemeanor cases are in jeopardy. A decision on whether to dismiss those cases is expected this week.

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