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.

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Most Read