Police, Border Agents Using Lab’s Sniffer To Nab Drug Traffickers
The tool-box sized Hound system developed by Lockheed Martin unit Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration has been used by the South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force to detect illegal drugs hidden in cars at border checkpoints.
The device, originally created to detect explosive residue, traps heavy organic compounds found in air drawn through a nozzle onto a filter. The filter is then heated and the compounds redistributed into a smaller air sample. An ion mobility spectrometer-based sensor sensitive enough to detect residue in the fingerprints left by drug users identifies the compounds.
The task force was able to pilot the device through funding from the Department of Justice. Sandia also produces hand-held explosives detectors and a walk-through portal detector. Its portal device is being used to screen airline passengers at JFK airport in New York as part of a pilot project by the Transportation Security Administration.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Newswise (03/03/05) .