Duluth's Evidence Rooms

Duluth's Evidence Rooms
Posted by FoM on July 13, 2000 at 08:00:05 PT
Purgatories for Criminal Paraphernalia
Source: Duluth News
Welcome to a lawbreaker's paradise.The stench of marijuana overwhelms the room where boxes upon boxes of other criminal evidence are stacked to the ceiling: Thousands of dollars in hundreds and fifties wrapped in plastic bags. Illegal firearms carefully wrapped, tagged and numbered. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, synthetics, marijuana, pills.
``Yeah, we got heroin in Duluth. We've got everything you need in Duluth. We got smoky bongs, purple-colored bongs, anything you need,'' said Deputy Duluth Police Chief Bob Grytdahl.Easily the largest stash in the city, police carefully keep this contraband locked up in walk-in vaults at City Hall.That's where the drugs, guns and money stay until they're needed to be used in court.Police gather many of the weapons at crime scenes and while executing search warrants.Some of the guns have a biohazard warning taped to them -- those are the weapons that could have bodily fluids on them, Grytdahl said.``Every time we touch it or move it, we make an entry on it,'' Grytdahl said.For drugs, the ``chain of custody'' often begins when the police Special Investigations Unit makes what they call a ``controlled buy'' on the streets, said Sgt. Dennin Bauers.``We go out and buy dope from some dope dealer, and the dope dealer gives it to us,'' Bauers said.Then the drugs are weighed and heat-sealed in clear bags. On felony cases, the drugs are sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for lab testing to verify their type and weight. When they are brought to court to be used as evidence, nothing has changed, Bauers said.Still, illegal narcotics could slip into the wrong hands.``Of course, at some point you have to trust people,'' Bauers said.Police try to ensure that at least two officers supervise contraband at all times, and that the weight of the drugs is checked and recorded after every time they're touched, Bauers said.There's no way to tell exactly how many drugs, money and weapons police keep because they don't keep a record of the total number, Bauers said.But in the evidence room, you can see some of the larger confiscated amounts: 13 grams of heroin valued at $2,600, 21 pounds of marijuana worth about $30,000 and a bag filled with hundred-dollar bills totalling $11,000.Police have had to expand the storage of the contraband beyond the two vaults to a third room.``It's easy to take in, hard to get rid of,'' said Ron Leino, who works in the identification bureau.``We do the most serious and most urgent (cases) first, but we get overrun,'' Grytdahl said. ``That's the constant battle. It's hard to keep up with the maintenance and the crises that come up.''The illegal evidence can't be disposed until the case it's attached to is closed and a judge writes out a court order.The drugs get burned at a downtown steam plant, guns are melted down at a foundry and a front-end loader is used to crush paraphernalia, Grytdahl said.Legal property is returned to its owner or auctioned, and clothing is given to local shelters, Leino said.By Mark Niesse, News Tribune Staff WriterMark Niesse covers Duluth crime and courts. He can be reached at (218) 279-5547 or by e-mail: mniesse duluthnews.comPublished: July 13, 2000 2000 Duluth News-Tribune. CannabisNews Police Archives: Paraphernalia Archives:
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Comment #2 posted by DCP on July 13, 2000 at 20:36:19 PT:
And the Money?
Lets see...drugs get burned, guns are melted and paraphernalia gets crushed. We know where the money went.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on July 13, 2000 at 10:24:52 PT:
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Duluth...
Cancer and AIDS victims are miserably barfing their guts out from lack of an effective anti-emetic. While hundreds of pounds of weed slowly lose their potency, gathering mold in a police lockup. And all to save the chil-drun. How many children in Duluth have cancer, right now? How many are undergoing chemo, and are dying as much from *malnourishment* as from having their weakened bodies poisoned by ratbane and Taxol? How many can be expected to *get* cancer? How many can be saved, or at least made comfortable, by the cannabis sitting in that storage room? I am a firm believer in the idea of karma; I think I've seen the 'instant' kind in action more than once. What comes around does indeed go around, and with the statistics that one out of every three Americans ( ominously up from one out of every 4, from the 70's) will have cancer in their lifetimes, those who deny others this miracle medicine may soon find themselves suffering the same fate they have consigned so many others to for the sake of their twisted neo-Puritanical principles.
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