Drug cases under review after WPD fires forensic chemist

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Three and a half years worth of drug-related cases are under review by the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office after a forensic chemist was fired for multiple violations.

The Wilmington Police Department said an internal affairs investigation into William Peltzer, 32, turned up violations in property and evidence control, member obligations, on-duty performance and standard of conduct.

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Peltzer was fired on January 25. He had been with the WPD since August of 2015.

Police say the investigation began after the agency’s lab conducted an internal audit last month and discovered paperwork irregularities by Peltzer.

Police say agency officials found no criminal wrongdoing, however they immediately notified the District Attorney’s Office so that they could to take appropriate action with any potentially affected cases.



“While there is no evidence that any of the cases were compromised we realize that the actions of this chemist called the integrity of our process into question and that is unacceptable”, said Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous. “To ensure the integrity of current and future drug testing we are working with the District Attorney’s Office.”

In a letter District Attorney Ben David sent to members of the New Hanover County Defense Bar, it was revealed that Peltzer’s responsibility was to test substances to determine whether or not they were illegal narcotics, and it appears on several occasions Peltzer represented to his supervisors that he had properly checked the calibration of the equipment when in fact he knew that he had not.

“We are currently reviewing Mr. Peltzer’s involvement with both pending and disposed cases to determine what needs to be done in terms of dismissals, motions for appropriate relief, or re-testing,” David wrote in the letter. “If you have a client (or have had a client) whose case you believe has been adversely affected by any testing conducted by Mr. Peltzer, then please bring it to the attention of the assigned assistant district attorney.”