It hasn't been a great couple years for crime labs and their technicians. Last year, Harris County Texas overturned 42 drug possession convictions after initial lab tests were revealed to be false positives. At the same time, lab techs in the Massachusetts state drug analysis unit were convicted of falsifying results and stealing from the lab, affecting some 40,000 criminal cases. Even the FBI was forced to admit that forensic testimony in at least 250 cases was faulty.
And just yesterday, a Baltimore crime scene technician and her boyfriend were arrested in a raid that netted guns, drugs, and more than $100,000 in cash. Now the department is reviewing all of the criminal cases on which she was the technician.
Labs, Guns, and Money
According to Baltimore Police spokesperson T.J. Smith, officers received a tip regarding drug activity at a house several weeks ago. When officers served a search warrant on the home, they found Timika Jones, her boyfriend, Clarence Jones Jr., two handguns, a "capsule machine" for packaging drugs, and $100,000 in cash. Outside, in a car rented to Timika Jones, officers discovered another $5,000 in cash and 125 gel capsules containing "suspected heroin."
Both Jones and her boyfriend were charged with felony drug possession, intent to distribute drugs, and handgun violations, and were being held at on $250,000 and $300,000 bail, respectively.
According to Smith, Jones was hired in the summer of 2015 to process crime scenes, including taking photos and gathering cataloging other forensic evidence. As a crime scene technician, Jones did not have access to the department's drug lab or evidence storage, but officials are still reviewing the cases on which Jones worked "out of an abundance of caution."
In the meantime, the department has suspended Jones without pay and is looking "to separate employment as soon as possible." Smith told the Baltimore Sun the investigation into Jones is ongoing, and this is department policy for police officers charged with a felony.