Narcotics officers receive new tools to detect drugs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Drug dealers in Natchez-Adams County should beware — the Metro Narcotics Unit has new tools to detect contraband.

&uot;(Drug dealers) should be afraid,&uot; said Maj. Chuck Mayfield, director of Natchez-Adams Metro Narcotics. &uot;It’s going to be hard for them to conceal any amount of drugs and get by if we stop them.&uot;

With the help of gamma radiation, a fiberoptic scope and other devices, narcotics officers can now quickly determine if someone is hiding drugs inside a gas tank, inside the door of a vehicle or in any hidden compartment without first tearing apart the item.

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For example, these devices could reduce the time needed for vehicle searches from 30 minutes to 10 minutes while allowing a more thorough search, Mayfield said.

And, the equipment will benefit people who are not hiding any controlled substance because officers can search vehicles &uot;without being so intrusive,&uot; Mayfield said.

&uot;It’s just an easier way for us to make sure there’s any contraband there before we do any dismantling of the vehicle,&uot;&160;said Deputy Frank Smith.

The White House Drug Policy Office is providing the equipment and training in how to use it at no charge through the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center’s Technology Transfer Program.

Natchez-Adams Metro Narcotics received the equipment by submitting an application.

It is the only agency in the state to have some of this equipment, which is commonly used by border patrols, the officers said.

Under the program, the agency received a fiberoptic scope, or a camera, useful for looking into gas tank, under doors or into windows.

The unit also received a range finder that measures inaccuracies in depth to look for hidden compartments and probes that can extract contraband hidden inside crops or vegetables.

The equipment also included an inspection mirror for looking under vehicles or in attics and a mini-buster which detects changes in density.

The agency is already making plans to apply for additional equipment in the future from the program.

&uot;You can’t work without the tools of the trade,&uot; said Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell.