Two Delaware medical examiner’s office employees arrested

 (Photo courtesy of DHSS)

(Photo courtesy of DHSS)

Two employees of the Chief Medical Examiner’s office have been arrested as the state continues to investigate drug evidence tampering.

According to Attorney General Beau Biden’s office, 38-year-old James Woodson was indicted on one count each of trafficking cocaine, theft of a controlled substance, official misconduct, and tampering with evidence.

Woodson, a death investigator at the facility, is accused of removing cocaine from an evidence bag at the Controlled Substances Lab. He was also charged for violating the terms of use governing his access to the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System database in April.

The second employee, 54-year-old Farnam Daneshgar, a chemist at the lab, was indicted on two counts of falsifying business records. 

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According to the AG’s office, Daneshgar failed to produce reports that documented discrepancies with drug evidence he reviewed in two specific cases. He was also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia after police issued a search warrant of his home.

“With these indictments we are beginning to hold individuals accountable for the significant damage that has been caused to the integrity of our criminal justice system,” Biden said in a release.

The Controlled Substance Lab has been closed since February after detectives discovered drug cases had been tampered with. A multi-agency investigation of the lab is currently underway. Delaware Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Richard Callery is also under investigation for the possible misuse of state resources. He is currently suspended with pay.

During a briefing with lawmakers last month, State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings said at least 75 individuals were notified that evidence in their cases may have been tampered with. The missing drugs include Oxycontin, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

Jennings also told lawmakers that Dr. Callery was rarely present to supervise the staff and when he was present, he was often working on his private consulting business.

The Department of Justice will issue a full report in June.

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