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Feds Case Against Motel Caswell Dealt a Setback

Disgraced chemist processed evidence on nine cases related to the Tewksbury motel.

The Federal Government's case against Russ Caswell has taken a hit with revelations that a disgraced chemist working at the State Crime Lab may have tainted evidence in several cases related to the Motel Caswell.

A trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court, in which Federal Prosecutors will attempt to prove that located on Route 38 in Tewksbury, is subject to federal forfeiture laws because of a pattern of drug related offenses committed on the motel property over several years.

Prosecutors were prepared to cite 28 cases, dating as far back as 1994, according to an article published in the Lowell Sun.

However, that number has now been trimmed to 19.

According to Sun article, Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica Lei wrote a letter to the attorney representing Russ Caswell and Tewksbury Realty Trust, stating that she would not be using nine of the cases originally cited. In the letter, Lei acknowledged that former state lab chemist Annie Dookhan participated in analyzing drug samples in those nine cases.

Dookhan is at the center of a scandal that led to the shut down of the state's drug lab in Boston. She has allegedly admitted to tampering with samples and faking results on possibly thousands of samples that came across her desk over the past several years.

Caswell family members have never been charged with a crime, but prosecutors allege they did not do enough under the law to stop the illegal activity on their property.

Caswell's attorneys have accused prosecutors of trying to engage in a "land grab." They say the Federal Government wants to shut down the motel, sell the property for as much as $1.5 million and split the proceeds with the Tewksbury Police Department, as allowed under forefeiture laws.

Sarah October 17, 2012 at 05:13 PM
"Caswell family members have never been charged with a crime, but prosecutors did not do enough under the law to stop the illegal activity on their property." I feel like you're missing a "say they"? Or else I'm wondering why the lawyers fighting against the Caswells are supposed to be responsible for keeping crime off the property. Assuming I'm remembering what a prosecutor is correctly.
Bill Gilman (Editor) October 17, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Thank you sarah. One missing can make all the difference. :)
Dirk Anderson October 17, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Torn on this. While I think they have turned a blind eye and I'm betting our property values would go up if the Caswell disappeared, I think it's an overreach to take the place for what now amounts to ONE drug arrest/year
Paul Fournier October 17, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Just for the record, i lived across the street from the Caswell. The family rented a room to any sleaseball that was holding cash... They SAW what went on there, and turned a blind eye since the mid 70's... How do housekeepers NOT see a meth lab in a bath tub?
Steve McMahan October 17, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Tale it by imminent domain. Do it Government! Do it!
Michael Adams October 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM
EVERYBODY knows what goes on in that joint. If it was located at the intersection of Pleasant and East St's It would be a parking lot right now. Lets not forget Motel 6 and The place on Andover st too.
Concerned Parent October 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM
With only 30 arrests since 1994 I would hardly think this effects property values. Letting the government grab property and allowing local police to profit is wrong! Next will be allowing police to grab personal homes because of too many arrest for domestic violence or drugs, how is that any different? Government and police should never have too much power over personal property.
malcolm nichols October 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Perhap a Zumba studio their would be better.
Mary October 18, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Just one comment: Annie Dookan is going to cost this State a ton of money. It just comes to show you that oversight is missing in every aspect of what this State is involved in.
TMHSGrad October 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Agreed.
Mike Hunt October 18, 2012 at 02:26 PM
The caswells don't care what goes on at their motel as long as they get paid that's all that matters to them. All that motel attracts is drug addicted scetchy characters the more normal people just got to Motel 6
Scot Sutherland October 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Nobody cares what you think when you use juvenile screen names like Mike Hunt or Mike Litoris.
Bill Gilman (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 05:30 PM
A comment has been removed for violation of terms of service.
bob c October 18, 2012 at 06:50 PM
More normal ???? What an idiot, motel six has just as many druggies plus people shooting at each other. The only reason the cops dont go after them is it's a big company with many lawyers. You dont have to qualify to get a hotel room anywhere, it's not the inn keepers fault .Thank your state for having so many section 8's that they buy them hotel rooms to live in. And as far as property values go remember your on main st in Tewksbury , Somerville with trees, get a grip. I hope none of you ever have the every day money problems that many family's in our country are going through and have to live in a cheep hotel.
Mike Hunt October 18, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Ya you right about that they're not going to go after large motel chains but there usually is more trouble at the Caswell than the Six though
bob c October 19, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Just as many problems if not more at hotel six , Tewksbury police have a big cash incentive to gain if the Caswell goes down so they make sure every little problem is known .
Gone to Florida December 28, 2012 at 06:40 PM
How does the Tewksbury Police Chief justify taking private property for personal & Department gain? Sounds like Land Grab/Criminal activity! Shouldn't the Police Chief be held accountable for wasting time with Washington rather than protecting the Citizens of Tewksbury....WHO ACTUALLY PAY HIS SALARY? Why are small town Citizens being involved in a National land grab test case that would be detrimental to every American from coast to coast who owns property? Is this an example of what the next 4 years will look like? (Un-American activity)

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