In late August, reports surfaced that a chemist at a crime lab run by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health may have improperly documented drug samples at the lab.

When state police took over supervisory duties from the Department of Public Health at the William A. Hinton Laboratory, they discovered that chemist Annie Dookhan had failed to follow lab protocols during the course of her employment, which began in 2003.

The implications for the state are huge. Dookhan handled up to 60,000 cases during her time at the lab — which is located in Jamaica Plain — and her analysis was likely used in trial. State chemists also routinely testify under oath in court, testimony which now may be cast into doubt.

Today we spoke with Milton Valencia, who has been covering the crime lab fallout for the Boston Globe. According to Valencia, state police knew something was amiss in the lab, and hastily reported as much to Gov. Patrick.

"The governor was concerned, [and] shut down the lab immediately," said Valencia. "Someone had known about this, or should have known a lot earlier."

We were also joined by Peter Elikann, criminal defense attorney and a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section. Elikann minced no words speaking on the legal ramifications.

"This is absolutely cataclysmic. We're talking about tens of thousands of [affected] cases."

Valencia agreed.

"We're talking about the integrity of the judicial system," said Valencia. "Now that it's happened, how do you resolve it in the court system? That's really going to be the Herculean task."

9/13/12 P.M. UPDATE: The Associated Press reported that two workers have left the Hinton crime lab. Dr. Linda Han, director of laboratory services, resigned, and Julie Nassif, director of analytical chemistry, was fired. Developing.

9/13/12 A.M. UPDATE: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has called for the establishment of a state "war room" to deal with the crime lab fallout.

According to the Boston Herald, Patrick held a closed-door meeting with Attorney General Martha Coakley as well as state district attorneys on Wednesday to address emerging issues with the lab.

Patrick said the "war room" will address "any sample this chemist touched," the Herald reports. "We'll prioritize, I hope, those people who may be incarcerated right now."

Watch a WCVB video on Hinton crime lab developments: