A 33-year-old FBI agent repeatedly checked out heroin from an evidence rooms, tampered with evidence, and came up thousands of dollars short in returning seized money, details of newly publicized court documents state. The documents, made public Tuesday (Dec. 2), further detail the rippling effect agent Matthew Lowry’s alleged misconduct will have on the cases he investigated. As a result, prosecutors have dismissed charges against more than two dozen incarcerated and non-incarcerated defendants, some of whom were facing life in prison over false accusations.
Reports the Washington Post:
The documents do not say what Lowry may have done with the drugs after he took them out of the FBI room. In most cases, he eventually took the packages to a Drug Enforcement Administration lab for testing, but authorities now say many came back with weights different from what they were when the packages were taken out. Sometimes, the documents say, packages were heavier, sometimes slightly lighter.
Authorities also said money and drugs went missing from searches and arrests. In one case, according to the court papers, Lowry and other agents reported seizing a large amount of cash from a search conducted in Southern Maryland. A later inventory came up $130,000 short.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made two documents — the most detailed yet describing Lowry’s alleged misconduct — public by lifting a protective order. The papers are among those prosecutors have provided to lawyers representing 33 defendants in a drug case that Lowry helped investigate but that authorities have said they do not intend to dismiss. One of the defense attorneys, Eduardo Balarezo, argued in court Monday that the court’s previous order against disseminating the material made it difficult for him to conduct an independent review.
Lowry was busted in late September, sitting in an FBI vehicle and “under the influence of narcotics.” His lawyer has yet to comment on the new details of the case.