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Joliet Police Reduce Narcotics To Dust With ‘Drug Terminator’

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JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — Joliet police are doing their part to eradicate drugs from the streets, using a powerful tool of destruction called the Drug Terminator.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports, Joliet is one of the few police departments to possess a Drug Terminator.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Pat Cassidy reports

The device is a wood-burning barrel with an electric vacuum motor, which creates a cyclone of intense heat that is blown back by cold air, so the narcotics it burns turns to ashes without the smell escaping.

“We purchased this about eight years ago. Before that we used an industrial furnace in Lemont to burn drugs,” Joliet police Evidence Officer Jeff Fornoff said.

In a recent demonstration this past Friday before a Joliet Herald news reporter, Fornoff lit the flame in the Drug Terminator around 9 a.m. It took about half an hour to get the fire going, during which time Fornoff set up seven banker’s of cocaine and marijuana that would be soon be reduced to a charred pile of dust.

The drugs came from cases that were completely cleared between October and February. The state lab confirmed they all were illegal substances and the cases had all been resolved in court.

“Each evidence technician has a bin in the drug room at the station where ‘finished’ cases are held and when they start getting full we have a burn,” Fornoff told the Herald-News. “Since we’re one of the few (local) departments that has one, we have had other departments call over the years to see if we can get their stuff, too.”

Other police departments also joined in the effort. Bolingbrook police brought 180 pounds of drugs to Friday’s burn.

Fornoff said some evidence had been seized just a few months ago, but other items dated back years depending on the speed of the legal process. He picked up a random brown bag from the top of the pile to look at the date. The markings on the brown paper bag sealed with red evidence tape showed it was collected on July 9, 1994, by Officer Mike Trafton.

“I think I was in the tactical unit at the time,” Trafton said.

The chief didn’t recognize that specific pot, but felt the one-pound weight must’ve been a decent bust.

“I’m afraid I couldn’t say in court right now I remember this is the exact same marijuana I found. It looks like it though,” Trafton joked.

The Drug Terminator is manufactured by Elastec Innovative Environmental Products. The mobile device is wood or charcoal-fired, and reduces the confiscated drugs to an average of 1 percent ash, according to the Web site for the device.

Drug paraphernalia that does not burn can also be placed in the Drug Terminator and will be sterilized by the heat so they can be thrown in the regular garbage stream, the Web site said.

The Joliet Herald-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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