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Feb 26, 2004

Drug analysis kits donated to police

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With drugs like ecstasy and heroin threatening to take their place alongside crack and cocaine in Belize, international agencies are arming local law enforcement bodies with upgraded tools to control the narcotics trade. The latest pieces of equipment to be donated to Belize are fifteen drug kits, courtesy of the United Nations. This morning, officials from National Forensic Services conducted introductory sessions with personnel from the police, customs, and fisheries departments on proper use of the kits. According to Genoveva Marin, Chief Analyst of the National Forensic Services, the kits will be used by the officers to confirm that suspicious substances are illegal drugs or precursor chemicals.

Genoveva Marin, Chief Analyst, National Forensic Services

“The intention is for us to control the trafficking of these substances through our borders which can be done just through paperwork whereby it would be diverted to countries like Columbia, for example, which would be known manufacturers in the illicit manufacture of cocaine. So, the intention of it is not putting the cart before the horse because we can used by these drug dealers for them to get hold of chemicals that are needed in the manufacture of illicit drugs.”

“Precursor chemicals are substances that are used in the manufacture of illicit drugs of abuse. So thus the intention is to control the purchasing of large bulk of these substances.”

Janelle Chanona

“These officers that are going to be using it, this something that they’ll do on the spot, or they’ll take it to the station? How does that work?”

Genoveva Marin

“It’s a field test kit for the purpose of doing it on the spot. Whenever they have any doubt as to the identification of the substance they will be using the kit for the purpose of getting a colour change reaction which will give them an indication of the substance.”

Final confirmation of the suspected substance will be conducted by the National Forensic Services team. The fifteen drug kits are valued at thirty thousand U.S. dollars. In November 2001, through an intelligence operation, law enforcement officials busted a clandestine laboratory in the Corozal District which was engaged in the production of ecstasy.

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