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.