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Texas Officers Are Accused of Faking Drug Tests in Revised Indictments

DALLAS (AP) - Revised indictments accuse North Texas law officers of lying about performing field tests on three large narcotics seizures that resulted in the arrests of innocent people.

According to the indictments released Tuesday in the Dallas Police Department's fake drug scandal, former lead narcotics officer Mark Delapaz never performed a field test on an 8-pound methamphetamine seizure in August 2001 and falsely reported that he had done the test.

The powder was found by a lab analysis several months later to be almost entirely crushed pool chalk.

Ex-officer Jeffrey Haywood is charged with lying about performing field tests in two large cocaine busts in May 2001. His attorney, Peter Barrett, told The Dallas Morning News in Wednesday's editions that he did not want to discuss details of the case before trial but that his client "absolutely denies" the charge.

The revised indictments were issued following motions by defense attorneys for the former narcotics officers to quash earlier charging instruments on the grounds that their language was too vague, said special prosecutor Dan Hagood, who has been investigating the matter since January.

Poor immigrants were among dozens of innocent people jailed in the scandal. Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill eventually threw out about 80 felony drug cases they were deemed tainted by officers and informants involved in the scandal.

As a result of Hagood's investigation, three former officers and five former confidential informants face indictment. Delapaz has been indicted on 11 felony charges and has a tentative Nov. 14 trial date.

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