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Criminal freed over Mass. lab scandal now fugitive

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012
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When additional officers moved in to arrest him, he struggled with them and swallowed a third bag of crack, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley. A fourth bag was recovered from the snow near the struggle, Wark said.

Wark said that because Pixley has three prior convictions for resisting arrest, he was charged as a habitual offender and faces a mandatory 2 ½-year sentence if convicted.

Pixley's lawyer, Veronica White, said Pixley was indicted on "contaminated evidence."

"That's a serious, serious violation," White said. "The government is trying to hang their hat on some resisting arrest charge, but he has a viable defense against that based on our contention that the officers engaged in excessive force."

Dookhan, 34, of Franklin, has pleaded not guilty. The burgeoning investigation into her conduct prompted the shutdown of the lab in August and led to the resignation of the state's public health commissioner. Since the lab closed, more than 20 defendants have had their bail reduced and their sentences put on hold and have been released while their attorneys challenge the charges against them based on Dookhan's conduct.

State police, who took over operation of the lab from the Department of Public Health on July 1, have said Dookhan tested more than 60,000 samples covering 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab.

State officials said they have identified more than 1,100 defendants serving time in county jails or state prisons based on samples tested by Dookhan. It is unclear how many samples might have been tainted.