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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228448 Find in a Library
Title: Drug Enforcement Tech: Scanner Yields Instant Meth Presence
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:36  Issue:8  Dated:August 2009  Pages:46,48,51
Author(s): Douglas Page
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the capabilities and specifications of a new type of scanner used by the Public Health Department in Island County, WA, to search for methamphetamine contamination in buildings, trailers, used cars on a sales lot, and at a children's dance studio.
Abstract: The scanner found traces of methamphetamine just about everywhere the device was pointed. The device is the ID2 Meth Scanner, a new technology that is capable of quickly and reliably detecting invisible trace quantities of methamphetamine as small as 1 microgram (one-millionth of a gram), which is otherwise visible only under a microscope. CDEX makes the unit, and Decatur Electronics sells it. Police agencies in several States have added this scanner to their equipment for addressing the methamphetamine problem. The battery-powered device can detect powder or crystalline forms of methamphetamine on almost any surface, including skin, clothing, plastic, wood, masonry, and metals. It can also detect the drug without touching the surface, assuring that the sample is not disturbed or contaminated. The unit operates using photospectroscopy, an optical technology that is able to determine the composition of a specimen by bouncing a beam of ultraviolet light off of it. The scanner is effective in a range from 2 to 10 inches from the surface being scanned. The device can detect methamphetamine at various levels of adulteration when cut by common adulterants. Some legal experts believe the scanner must first be independently tested and validated before a court can legitimately admit scanner results into evidence. In U.S. v. Place, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a sniff of closed luggage by a narcotic detection dog was not a search, because it could disclose only whether the luggage contained contraband. The same reasoning may apply to the scanner.
Main Term(s): Police equipment
Index Term(s): Drug detection; Methamphetamines; Police legal limitations
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