Police destroy drugs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 22, 2004

Ever wonder what happens to the drugs police confiscate during arrests? They go up in smoke.

It took officers in the narcotics division of the Selma Police Department two hours to destroy thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, crack, and crack cocaine by burning them in a large furnace.

The team met early Friday morning to transport two boxes filled with drugs to a local company’s furnace, where each item was carefully checked before being tossed into the blazing inferno.

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Illegal drugs of every size and shape, from large marijuana bricks and balls of crack cocaine to powdered residue, were contained inside the evidence bags.

Lt. John Brock said the drugs were evidence in criminal cases from 1997.

“All of these cases have been resolved,” Brock said. “We had to get rid of these drugs to make more room in the evidence department.”

Along with the controlled substances, several crack pipes, baggies, and rolling papers were also burned.

As the process unfolded, officers talked about the arrests they made that lead to the drugs becoming in their possession.

Each time a new evidence bag was opened, a different and ecxiting story was told, enhancing the whole experience of watching the drugs become incinerated.

Brock said special care was taken before the burning to ensure each piece of evidence was no longer needed by the state’s court system.

“It’s a pretty simple procedure,” said Fourth Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ed Greene. “Once the police department reaches a point, especially in drug evidence, where a case has no appeal or they found no cause for a case, a petition is filed to the court alleging contraband that needs to be disposed of.”

After the police department burns the drugs, Greene says, they have to file back to the court stating the evidence has been destroyed.

As an extra measure, the whole process is video taped and a outside witness is recruited to make sure the officers do not take any of the drugs.

Brock said the department’s drugs are burned at the start of each new year. The majority of the evidence destroyed is at least five years old.