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  • Did you know mice like to partake of the green stuff.

  • Well, at least that's what a group of police officers tried to claim.

  • In 2018, the upper management of a police department near Buenos Aires, Argentina performed

  • an inspection of impounded drugs.

  • Curiously out of the approximately 6.6 tons [13,228 lb or 6,000 kg] of confiscated cannabis

  • that had been stored in a police warehouse for the past 2 years, only 6 tons [12,037

  • lbs or 5,460 kg] could be accounted for.

  • When questioned by a judge, a police commissioner claimed that mice ate over half a ton [1,190

  • lbs or 540 kg] of marijuana.

  • Forensic experts from Buenos Aires University debunked the commissioner's explanation, saying

  • that with their excellent sense of smell, mice wouldn't mistake the drug for food.

  • Also, if they had eaten large quantities of cannabis, a lot of mouse corpses would have

  • been found in the warehouse.

  • Eight policemen ended up fired and the commissioner was investigated by the court to determine

  • if the missing drugs were the result ofexpedience or negligence”.

  • That might be a funny incident, but how common is it for confiscated drugs to go missing?

  • What actually happens to drugs seized by police?

  • Generally the procedure is determined by where the bust happened; each country and in many

  • cases each jurisdiction or law enforcement agency within countries have their own set

  • of rules, regulations, and process for confiscating drugs.

  • In general in the US during a raid, arrest or any situation where the police seize narcotics,

  • they immediately start a chain of custody for the items.

  • Law enforcement must manage contraband while it's in their possession.

  • They have to able to show in court that the drugs have not been swapped, altered, or tampered

  • with prior to testing.

  • After the narcotics are seized, the confiscating officers take them to the police station's

  • property room.

  • The officers then package the drugs in clear plastic bags along with case information such

  • as the seizing officer name, ID numbers, date, time and case number.

  • Any information is usually written in permanent ink.

  • Then the plastic bags are heat sealed and tamper-evidence tape is put over the seal.

  • The officers initial and date the tape so if someone was able to get the tape off without

  • tearing it, it wouldn't be possible for them to put it back on in a way that lines up with

  • the other writing on the tape.

  • Once sealed, drug packages are submitted to the Evidence Management Unit who forwards

  • them to a crime lab or forensics unit--either in-house or off-site.

  • The lab tests the drugs to positively identify exactly what the substance is.

  • The drug ID provided by testing is crucial in helping law enforcement to file charges

  • and make cases.

  • Minus the small amount used for testing, the crime lab or forensics will return the drugs

  • to the Evidence Management Unit for storage pending case disposition.

  • If the case goes to trial, the prosecutor may request that the arresting officer bring

  • the drugs to court.

  • In this situation, Evidence Management would check the drugs out of the property storage

  • room to the officer.

  • They would then take them to court, and return them to the property room after the hearing

  • or portion of trial that they were needed for.

  • Once the case completes, the time for an appeal passes and the evidence is no longer needed,

  • the drugs are reclassified in the system as slated for destruction.

  • Most jurisdictions hold drugs for the duration of the trial, on average for a non serious

  • offense the drugs might end up being held less than 3 years.

  • For a large bust and long trial with many defendants, seized narcotics could be held

  • 7-8 years.

  • Sometimes police use the drugs slated for destruction for undercover operations and

  • training--both K9 and field test training for employees who may not come into contact

  • with drugs often, but should be familiar with narcotics such as probation/parole officers

  • and confidential informants.

  • Most jurisdictions conduct biannual evidence destructions or when the amount of contraband

  • slated for destruction reaches a predetermined threshold, eradication is carried out.

  • A common exception to storing all the seized narcotics of a case, is live marijuana plant

  • seizures, especially from commercial outdoor gardens.

  • Law enforcement will collect representative samples for court.

  • Then they'll use a backhoe or other gardening equipment to dig a deep hole and mass bury

  • the other cannabis plants.

  • Deprived of oxygen the plants will quickly rot and die.

  • For destruction, law enforcement agencies may have agreements with local funeral homes,

  • factories or hospitals to incinerate the contraband.

  • Generally incinerators burn hot enough to quickly and rapidly destroy the drugs while

  • not producing smoke.

  • Other jurisdictions use third party contractors licensed to handle hazardous materials to

  • destroy the drugs on their behalf.

  • Then there are some law enforcement agencies that burn drugs themselves.

  • Sometimes they get in over their own heads such as in 2015 when a police force in Tangerang,

  • a town 15 miles outside of Jakarta, Indonesia decided to destroy 3 tons of cannabis in a

  • bonfire.

  • Realizing that the fire would give off fumes, local officials wore gas masks, however they

  • forgot about the town.

  • Smoke from the fire spread and a significant portion of the town's residents got high

  • or experienced dizziness and headaches.

  • As our opening story highlighted, there are law enforcement officers out there with sticky

  • fingers.

  • Sadly this is not an uncommon issue, while researching this video we found multiple instances

  • of cops in the US, UK and other countries being caught stealing from property storage.

  • In some cases, cops even skipped the evidence storage part and simply 'misplace' drugs

  • during a raid or arrest.

  • That's what a pair of Canadian cops did--misplaced marijuana-laced chocolate bars straight into

  • their mouths.

  • On January 27, 2018 Toronto constables Jamie Young and Vittorio Dominelli were part of

  • a raid on a pot dispensary.

  • Vittorio stole three hazelnut chocolate bars infused with cannabis oil.

  • Later on that night, the 2 cops were on surveillance duty.

  • After a discussion about having never tried marijuana, they decided to sample the chocolate.

  • They ate eight squares of one bar.

  • 20 minutes later, the effects of the chocolate hit Vittorio 'like a ton of bricks'.

  • He started sweating heavily and thought he was going to pass out.

  • He worried that he was going to die.

  • About 2 hours later Vittorio called for assistance over police radio, using the 10-33 police

  • code, which indicates an officer is in serious trouble.

  • He claimed that he was about to pass out from running down the street.

  • Responding officers said that the pair "appeared to be in distress" when they were found.

  • They were both taken to hospital.

  • One of the responding officers slipped on ice during the call and also had to be transported

  • to hospital.

  • Vittorio and Jamie faced misconduct charges under the Police Services Act.

  • Vittorio resigned from the force.

  • A Judge called him a "complete idiot" for tampering with evidence.

  • Due to Vittorio's theft, 7 of the suspects charged in the pot-shop raid had their charges

  • dropped.

  • Sometimes the cops aren't stealing to satisfy curiosity or support a personal habit; they're

  • running an illegal black market.

  • In 2014 based on a tip, police in the UK conducted a raid on police inspector Keith Boots's

  • home.

  • They found cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and cannabis with an estimated street

  • value of £700,000 [approx $874,835].

  • They even found 24 pounds [11 kg] cocaine hidden in his washing machine.

  • Prior to his arrest, Boot was responsible for evidence storage at a West Yorkshire Police

  • station.

  • Part of his job was to manage seized narcotics and make sure they were checked and signed

  • off for disposal.

  • However, instead he and his son Ashley ran a drug recycling ring and sold drugs to a

  • network of drug dealers.

  • Keith was pretty sly--on the surface he was extremely diligent.

  • He sent emails to colleagues expressing his concerns about missing or unlabelled drug

  • packs, and also made it his responsibility to have a CCTV camera installed in the storeroom.

  • Ultimately Keith was found guilty of a number of charges, including theft and intent to

  • supply.

  • Ashley was found guilty of five drug conspiracy charges.

  • While we've discussed some of the more lighthearted examples of corrupt police stealing confiscated

  • drugs, it's a serious issue.

  • When law enforcement and the justice system can't be trusted, it erodes public trust.

  • Unfortunately, it's difficult to find detailed statistics surrounding police theft, sometimes

  • it's classified as misconduct, especially when a case against the officer isn't pursued.

  • When the theft is for personal use, especially if the officer is part of a smaller force,

  • perhaps in a small town, the response and consequences vary greatly.

  • Some cops are merely given a slap on the wrist, suspended or forced to resign, perhaps fired

  • and given suspended sentences with probation.

  • Notably, in the US, an all too common scenario is that after a work incident involving physical

  • trauma an officer is prescribed pain pills and becomes addicted.

  • Or they developed PTSD due to the incident.

  • In either case over time the officer spins out of control and starts stealing from the

  • property room at work.

  • Sadly, decorated officers of many years have brought life long careers to an abrupt ending

  • due to their addictions.

  • For larger law enforcement groups such as those servicing a city and for scenarios where

  • stealing confiscated drugs were just one aspect of overall poor behavior from an officer,

  • the end result was often jail time--often after an investigation or sting from the Feds.

  • Sometimes staff other than the police are derelict in their duty of the application

  • of law in regards to impounded drugs.

  • In June of 2011 discrepancies were found in the paperwork of Annie Dookhan, a chemist

  • at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston.

  • This lab ids narcotics for several counties in the state of Massachusetts.

  • Further investigation revealed that Annie had forged the initials of an evidence officer

  • in her log book.

  • Despite being suspended from lab duties, Annie was still allowed to testify in court for

  • 8 more months until February 2012 when Boston district attorneys were notified of the breach

  • in procedure.

  • Annie was finally placed on administrative leave and quit soon after.

  • A police probe uncovered that for years Annie had altered and faked test results to hide

  • her frequent "dry labbing," or visually identifying samples without actually testing them.

  • She only actually tested around a third to a fifth of the 60,000 drug samples that crossed

  • her desk.

  • Some coworkers had even brought concerns about Annie to their bosses who turned a blind eye.

  • It also came out that Annie didn't have a master's degree in chemistry from the University

  • of Massachusetts Boston as she had claimed on her resume and in sworn testimony.

  • As a result of Annie's falsifications, the lab was shut down.

  • Multiple charges including 17 counts of obstruction of justice and 8 counts of tampering with

  • evidence were brought against her.

  • Annie was sentenced to 3-5 years' imprisonment and 2 years' parole.

  • Her only known motive for her actions was to look extremely productive and further her

  • career.

  • In the end, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dropped 21,587 drug convictions that

  • had hinged on potentially tainted samples processed by Annie.

  • Several defendants filed civil suits.

  • Annie's actions wreaked absolute havoc in many lives beyond court issues; some defendants

  • lost jobs, driver's licenses, or were deported.

  • Others had marriages fall apart, lost access to kids and paid a small fortune in lawyer

  • and court fees.

  • The state of Massachusetts continues to deal with fallout from the scandal.

  • One prominent attorney said that as many as 40,000 people could have been falsely convicted

  • as a result of Annie's actions.

  • Now go check out Crazy True Stories From Undercover Cops:

  • Or watch things you should absolutely not do if you're pulled over.

  • Whichever video you watch next, it will be far more fun than being arrested.

  • Trust us!

Did you know mice like to partake of the green stuff.

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This Happens to Drugs Confiscated by Police

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/28
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