Two Medical Examiner employees indicted in investigation into compromised drug evidence

Date Posted: Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Categories:  Criminal Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden today announced that his office has secured indictments charging two employees of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) with multiple offenses as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation into compromised drug evidence in the OCME’s Controlled Substances Lab.


“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.  “I want to recognize the Delaware State Police and the staff from my office who have led a comprehensive investigation to understand the full scope of the irregularities and identify those responsible, and also to ensure that the criminal justice system continues to operate fairly and in the interest of justice.  I want to remind the public that this investigation is ongoing, and that it remains our intention to publicly disclose details of our findings at the earliest opportunity, when doing so does not compromise the ongoing investigation.”


Yesterday, as a result of the ongoing criminal investigation, Biden’s office secured indictments from the New Castle County Grand Jury charging the following employees of the OCME Controlled Substance Lab:


–          James Woodson, age 38, of Wilmington, was indicted on one count each of Trafficking Cocaine, Theft of a Controlled Substance (Cocaine), Official Misconduct, and Tampering with Evidence for allegedly removing cocaine from an evidence bag at the Controlled Substances Lab.  In addition, Woodson was charged with a violation of DELJIS for violating the terms of use governing his access to the database in April, 2014.

–          Farnam Daneshgar, age 54, of Wilmington, was indicted on two counts of Falsifying Business Records for allegedly failing to produce reports documenting discrepancies in drug evidence he reviewed in two specific cases.  He was also charged with one count each of Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia related to evidence seized during a search warrant at his home.

Woodson had been a courier at the Lab, and most recently worked as a death investigator at the facility.  Daneshgar worked as a Chemist at the Lab.  Both men were arrested today by Delaware State Police and arraigned this afternoon in New Castle County Superior Court.  Bail amounts were set at $5,000 secured for Daneshgar, and $20,000 cash for Woodson.  Booking images for both are unavailable at this time.


The joint Delaware State Police and Delaware Department of Justice investigation was initiated in January after drug evidence submitted for analysis to the Controlled Substances Lab was found to be compromised.  The identified compromises included drug evidence tampered with, missing, and/or substituted.  The investigation included internal audits of police evidence lockers, which detected discrepancies amongst several Delaware law enforcement agencies that existed between drug evidence submitted to the OCME Controlled Substances Lab and evidence returned to police evidence lockers in sealed envelopes after analysis and testing.


Because the criminal investigation is ongoing no additional information about the investigation is being released at this time.


The Delaware Department of Justice reminds the public that an indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.


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