FBI agent charged with 64 counts in drug tampering case

By Christopher Rice

Matthew Lowry, formerly a special agent with the agency's Washington field office, tampered with hundreds of grams of heroin seized during drug investigations in 2013 and 2014, keeping it in his car for weeks or months, and periodically using it, according to charging documents filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Lowry will face at least seven years in prison, prosecutors say.

The accusations against Lowry, 33, caused federal prosecutors to dismiss charges against at least 28 defendants in drug cases and notify 150 more that Lowry had participated in investigations targeting them, according to charging documents.

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Charging documents say Lowry took drugs that had been processed as evidence, removed heroin from evidence bags, and then added a cutting agent to account for the missing weight. He used a dietary supplement or a laxative as cutting agents, according to the documents.

Lowry also took heroin he got during controlled buys as part of FBI investigations, according to the documents.

In a statement that in each of 20 incidents involving evidence tampering, Lowry removed small amounts of heroin from evidence packages to self-medicate a long-standing health issue known as ulcerative colitis his attorney Robert Bonsib said.

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One of Lowry's doctors had prescribed him powerful pain medications without warning him of how addictive they were, Bonsib said. When his doctor left the practice without notice, Lowry tried to kick the addiction but it was "overpowering" and the pain from his medical condition was "unbearable," Bonsib said.

Bonsib said the investigation into Lowry began after he was found unconscious in his unmarked FBI vehicle on Sept. 29 after overdosing on heroin.

A spokesman with the FBI's Washington field office declined to comment.

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