* Several months ago, Prince George's County prosecutors were having a hard time getting their PCP cases into court because of a drug analysis backlog at the Maryland State Police lab.
That problem seems to have been solved for now, but Prince George's officials have hired a chemist to determine whether the county should create its own drug testing lab.
Ira DuBey, director of the state police crime lab in Pikesville, said his department has caught up on the drug testing on cases from Prince George's, largely because of funds from the county that enabled the state to hire one full-time and two part-time chemists.
The cases began to accumulate last fall, causing some frustrated Prince George's prosecutors to delay trials or reduce charges from felonies to misdemeanors.
DuBey says he now has no problem handling the 60 cases Prince George's law enforcement authorities send him each month, but his department still has a backlog of work to be done for other counties because he has four vacant positions.
"I certainly think Prince George's needs its own lab," said State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr., the county's chief prosecutor. Marshall said he is satisfied that the state police chemists have caught up, but that he anticipates another flurry of cases this summer as teams of undercover police officers, known as the "wolfpack," go back on the streets looking for drug dealers.
Last April, the County Council gave its approval for a county-run drug analysis lab, and last week, County Executive Parris Glendening appointed Ed Brown, a former Department of Agriculture chemist, to determine the most cost-efficient way to establish one.