Hundreds of cases and investigations are now in jeopardy after it was revealed that Oregon State Police (OSP) forensic analyst Nika Larsen tampered with evidence from drug cases – essentially, he stole drugs. To make things even worse, another, second forensic analyst is now under investigation for the same thing.
Image via Wiki Commons.
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said that Larsen stole drugs from the counter and then replaced them with over-the-counter pills to avoid being caught.
“I’m very concerned about the policies and procedures at the OSP crime labs in general,” Hummel said. “I want to see a major investigation by an independent agency.”
This unfortunately threatens all the cases on which Larsen worked, because it’s a case of tampering with evidence. Hummel is now going through 502 criminal cases that Larsen has worked on and has to re-evaluate all of them. But it gets even worse than this – as a forensic analyst, he had access to more evidence, not just from the cases he was working on.
“I’m very shocked to see the lack of control at the crime labs,” Hummel said. “Forensic analysts have access to all evidence, not just the evidence of the case they’re working on. We also absolutely call for an independent audit of the Oregon State Police crime labs, all of them,” Kaplan said. “We’ve actually reached out to the Attorney General with these views and the governor.”
OSP said late on Friday that a second analyst, who worked at its Central Point lab, overstate the evidence for a case in 2005. He has since retired, but an investigation is still required, as this may signal even more tampering. The OSP has some serious work to do, and the thought that this happens at more other stations is extremely worrying.