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Released Mass. inmate grateful to accused chemist

A Massachusetts man released from prison early because of a drug-testing lab scandal declared his gratitude toward the chemist allegedly responsible for his freedom after he was rearrested for having a stolen handgun.

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said that after his latest arrest Sunday, Jamell Spurill told the police, “I just got out thanks to Annie Dookhan. I love that lady.”

Spurill, 31, of Quincy, was arrested Sunday after the Boston police pulled over a car he was in for having an expired inspection sticker and allegedly found a loaded 9mm handgun, which they later discovered was stolen.

Spurill and the driver and owner of the car, Shaki Muhammed, 27, of Norwood were both charged with receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and other charges.

Spurill was charged as an armed career criminal based on his prior record, which includes a conviction for drug possession with intent to distribute in 2010, unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun in 2008 and assault and battery 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Spurill was serving a three-year sentence after being convicted of cocaine trafficking in 2011, but his case was put on hold late last year after Dookhan was charged with tampering with evidence and other charges for allegedly faking test results and other misconduct at a now-closed state Department of Public Health lab. The charges against him were dismissed earlier this year.

Dookhan has pleaded not guilty to a 27-count indictment. Authorities have said more than 40,000 defendants may have been affected by her alleged mishandling of samples. More than 330 prison inmates have been released from custody since state police shut the lab down in August 2012.

Spurill’s lawyer, William Roa, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Spurill is being held on $50,000 bail after his latest arrest.

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