FBI agent Matthew Lowry checked out an item from an evidence room in 2013. He wrote “to lab” on a log sheet to explain why he was taking drugs that had been seized in an undercover operation dubbed Midnight Hustle. The Washington Post says it was nearly a year later when he delivered the drug package to the lab. For 10 months, the heroin had gone unaccounted for and unmissed. When the package made it back to the FBI office, it weighed 1.1 grams more than when it had been seized. Someone had tampered with the contents. The package is one piece of a tale of an FBI agent who, by his own admission, repeatedly stole heroin from evidence bags for his personal use.
In the process, he sabotaged drug cases that he and his colleagues had labored on for months. Prosecutors have dismissed charges against 28 defendants, many of whom had already been convicted, and they say it could affect 150 other defendants. The revelations exposed a system of weak checks and balances that allowed Lowry's thefts and drug use to go undetected for at least 14 months as he worked on a task force focusing on heroin traffickers. “It's shocking that there was such little oversight,” said Steven Levin, a former federal prosecutor. “It's something you would expect to see on a made-for-TV movie. . . . You're thinking, there is no way that could ever happen. And that's what happened.”