Feds dish out drug charges to former San Francisco crime lab tech

AP file photoFelony drug charges were filed in federal court Thursday against Deborah Madden

Felony drug charges were filed in federal court Thursday against Deborah Madden, the disgraced former technician at the San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab.

In a one-sentence indictment, federal prosecutors allege that Madden did “knowingly and intentionally acquire and obtain possession of, by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge” cocaine from the lab.

Madden, who has admitted to taking small amounts of drugs from the lab in 2009, is due to make an initial appearance before U.S. Northern District Court Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte on Wednesday.

The drug scandal rocked the crime lab, which was temporarily shut down in March 2010. The incident led to the outsourcing of drug testing to other labs in the Bay Area.

Madden, 61, who has not been jailed on the charge, has never been prosecuted by The City. She did plead no contest in San Mateo County to charges that stemmed from San Mateo police finding 0.09 grams of cocaine during a search of Madden’s home there.

Paul DeMeester, Madden’s attorney, took exception to the filing of federal charges, questioning why the federal government was involved.

“I don’t see that her picking up some residue — drugs that had been tested and destined for the trash bin — I don’t see how her admission to taking the drugs fits with those descriptions,” DeMeester said of the “misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge” claims.

The FBI is listed as the complainant on the indictment.

“My beef lies with the policy of the government to pursue this case,” DeMeester said.

The only tip DeMeester had that a grand jury was considering charges against Madden was when her sister was called to testify before the panel Oct. 13.

sdrumwright@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Julia Chan contributed to this report.

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