DPS Crime Lab seeing new trends

DPS Crime Lab seeing new trends

A tour of the Department of Public Safety's crime lab reveals some new criminal trends.

I-40 and I-27 are two of the areas that keep DPS troopers most busy. But the men and women behind the scenes in the crime lab are staying just as busy getting to the bottom of the evidence.

In 2000, DPS Crime Lab Manager Brandon Conrad was seeing about 100 cases brought in monthly, now that number is over 200.

What they do in the lab is complex...they do scientific testing on the evidence to determine the presence, or absence of a controlled substance.

"Amarillo, this laboratory is strategically placed upon I-40, which has a lot of traffic on transporting the drugs from the west coast to the east coast and so this laboratory does see a large volume of not only large seizures, but also a larger variety than whatever our sister laboratories across the state see," says Conrad.

And they see it all. Any up-and-coming drugs, they've likely tested it.

Currently, Marijuana is still the most popular drug, followed by meth and edibles with THC. The more sophisticated the recipes become, the more time-consuming the process becomes for them.

"With the food products that contain THC, they are structurally similar to the fats that are used to bake the items, and so the extractions needed to separate the items before going to analysis require additional time and additional resources, which slows the production of this lab down considerably," says Conrad.

It seems DPS will not see drug traffic slowing down any time soon.

"We are seeing a steady increase. The complexity of these cases are changing. We have the new drugs that have been publicized in the media such as the bath salts, the synthetic cannabanoids which some people refer to as synthetic marijuana."

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