A prominent U.S. newspaper says an internal Federal Bureau of Investigation probe has revealed that its agents around the country have "mishandled, mislabeled and lost evidence."
The New York Times says it obtained a copy of the FBI report about the "highly critical internal investigation" that discovered errors with almost half of the 41,000 pieces of evidence reviewed.
The newspaper said the FBI evidence collection and retention system is "beset" with problems.
According to the Times, the report found the FBI is holding more weapons, less money and valuables, and two tons more drugs than its records indicate.
FBI evidence is crucial in criminal investigations and prosecutions. Lawyers can use discrepancies to have evidence thrown out of court.
The New York Times said the FBI was telling prosecutors around the country that they may need to disclose the errors to defendants.
The newspaper said the auditors wrote that the majority of the errors "were due in large part to human error."