Almost 8,000 cases have been called into question in the state of New Jersey after a lab technician was found to have faked the results of a drug test.
Kamalkant Shah, who worked for the New Jersey State Police laboratory in Little Falls, was first removed from lab work after inaccuracies in his tests were discovered in December, according to NJ Advance Media. Shah was suspended without pay starting on Jan. 12 while his case is under review.
In a memo sent to Public Defender Joseph Krakora on Feb. 29, Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon wrote that Shah was accused of "dry labbing," or making up data, for suspected marijuana.
"Basically, he was observed writing 'test results' for suspected marijuana that was never tested," Fallon said in the memo, which was released on the New Jersey Municipal Court Law Update Service's website on March 1.
Although Shah has not been charged with a crime, New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice Director Ellie Honig advised the Passaic County prosecutor's office to disclose information regarding Shah’s actions to defense counsel in the case he was testing marijuana for.
"Mr. Shah was observed in one case spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana and recording an anticipated result without properly conducting the analysis," Honig wrote in a letter on Feb. 22.
Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, said that although Shah was only under investigation for falsifying results in one case, all of the cases he had worked on previously would be called into question.
"In an abundance of caution, we have identified every case that Shah worked on since he began working in the North Regional Lab Drug Unit in 2005, and we have notified the county prosecutors, advising them to alert defense attorneys in those cases," Aseltine said, according to NJ Advance Media. "There are a total of 7,827 cases statewide, with the largest numbers being in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic counties."