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Lynn drug suspect involved in drug lab testing scandal pleads guilty

LYNN — Two defendants, including a Lynn man, who had claimed their drug convictions were tainted because of Annie Dookhan’s role in testing the drugs, have pleaded guilty again, according to a press release from the Essex County District Attorney

The Essex County DA filed several lawsuits at the Supreme Judicial Court in February to clarify the procedures for handling so-called Dookhan drug lab cases in Superior Court. The defendants in two of those cases, Shubar Charles and Hector Milette, admitted that the substance tested by Dookhan was cocaine during their guilty pleas, said the release.

On Friday, Charles, 29, of Lynn, pleaded guilty in Salem Superior Court to possession of a class B drug (cocaine) with intent to distribute, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition without an FID card, said the release.

He was sentenced to four years in state prison, which was deemed served, followed by two years of probation. He originally pleaded guilty to the same charges on Oct. 18, 2010 but later challenged his guilty plea because Dookhan was the primary chemist who tested the substance in his case, said the release.

Lynn Police arrested Charles in April 2009 after New Bedford Police contacted them regarding a report that Charles had held a firearm to a former girlfriend’s face and threatened to kill her while visiting her in New Bedford,

Charles has since pleaded guilty to the charges related to this incident, said the release.

When Lynn Police officers found Charles at an apartment on North Common Street, he was in a bedroom where they found a loaded handgun along with 20 individual baggies of a white powdery substance believed to be cocaine in his pants pocket and a bullet in his jacket pocket, said the release.

He later asked the court to vacate his guilty plea and release him from prison because Dookhan was the primary chemist who analyzed the substance found in the baggies.

Special Judicial Magistrate John Cratsley allowed Charles’ motion for a stay of sentence, pending a decision as to whether he would get a new trial, but the DA’s office objected because Charles was a threat to public safety and Dookhan and the Hinton Lab were in no way involved with the gun-related charges, said the release. The DA also questioned the authority of the Special Judicial Magistrate to allow a motion for a stay because it was not permitted by any court rule.

Earlier this week, the SJC agreed with the Essex DA’s office that the Special Judicial Magistrate does not have the authority to allow a motion for a stay of sentence, but may only make findings to a Superior Court Judge. The SJC also agreed with the Essex DA that the Special Judicial Magistrate may not allow a motion for a stay after a Superior Court Judge denies the motion.

“It is important to remember that police sought this defendant following a report that he pointed a loaded gun in a woman’s face and threatened to kill her,” said District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. “Lynn Police found him alone in a room where they also found a loaded gun and in possession of ammunition. The conduct of Annie Dookhan has no bearing on those facts.”

Blodgett went on to say that any “wrongful convictions as a result of Ms. Dookhan’s alleged conduct” must be addressed “as quickly as possible.”

“But we must bear in mind that many of these defendants have other serious accompanying charges that have nothing to do with Annie Dookhan or the Hinton Drug Lab,” he said. “As District Attorney, I will review each case to ensure that public safety is not threatened, the rules of the court are followed and justice is done.”

The other defendant, Hector Milette, pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking Class B (cocaine) and one count of possession with intent to distribute Class B (cocaine) on May 20, 2013. He was sentenced to three years in state prison, which was deemed served, followed by three years of probation.

He had pleaded guilty to the same charges on May 9, 2011, but later claimed that his plea was not valid because Dookhan had been involved with the testing of the cocaine.

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