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Mass. chemist pleads not to guilty to charges of tampering with lab samples, stealing drugs

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This undated photo provided by the Massachusetts Attorney General's office shows Sonja Farak. Farak a chemist at a state crime lab tampered with drug evidence, authorities said Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 in Massachusetts, where another chemist at a different lab was accused last year of faking test results in a scandal that threw thousands of criminal cases into question. (AP Photo/Massachusetts Attorney General) (The Associated Press)

A Massachusetts crime lab chemist accused of tampering with evidence and stealing drugs has pleaded not guilty.

Sonja Farak was arraigned Tuesday in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, where bail was set at $5,000.

Authorities say in one case, the 35-year-old Northampton woman stole a drug that tested positive for cocaine and replaced it with a counterfeit substance.

The lab contacted state police on Friday to report a discrepancy in inventory. The Amherst lab where Farak worked has been closed temporarily, and chemists transferred to another one.

Farak's lawyer says her client has no prior record.

Farak's case is not connected to the case of Annie Dookhan, who has been accused of faking test results at a Boston drug lab. She has pleaded not guilty.

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