Hundreds of drug cases in jeopardy after evidence tossed out

HARRIS COUNTY, TX (KTRK) -- The Harris County District Attorney's office has a mess on their hands after a deputy constable threw away evidence connected to pending cases.

"We're in the middle of a pretty huge investigation at our office," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said, "But we're on it."

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said a deputy was cleaning out an evidence storage room and accidentally destroyed evidence connected to pending cases.

Illegal drugs that had been confiscated from alleged criminals were incinerated. According to law enforcement sources, at least three drug-related cases have been dismissed as a result and hundreds of other cases are in serious jeopardy.

"We don't have the matching cause numbers," Anderson said, "So we have a piece of evidence that was tagged in but we don't know if the case was even filed. If it was, where it is in the system, and so we have a team of people that I assigned to get on this as soon as we got the list, and so we're working through it."

The deputy responsible for destroying much-needed evidence has been fired. Constable Herman will not release his name and also declined an interview with Eyewitness News.

"I'm glad that Constable Herman took care of it and fired him," Anderson said, "Because it's a huge undertaking. It's gonna cause a big problem."

Anderson said about 10 employees are now dedicated to sorting out the mess, including IT specialists, lawyers and investigators. Once they figure out which cases match the evidence destroyed, they'll try to see if those cases will still hold up in court, or if accused criminals will get free passes.

According to law enforcement sources, the former deputy constable made a mistake in having the drugs destroyed; he did not, however, steal the drugs from the property room.
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