84°F
weather icon Clear

Nye sheriff’s office acquires a drug incinerator

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office now has a new method to dispose of confiscated illegal drugs.

They will burn them from here on in.

Last month, Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, along with a group of state and local officials, unveiled what’s known as a Contained Burn Chamber Incinerator.

Sheriff’s office volunteer Frank Czajkowski demonstrated how the device works during a special presentation at the Nye County Emergency Services site on 1510 Siri Lane.

Czajkowski noted that the method will not affect air quality.

“We are burning marijuana and we are burning pills,” he said. “A third party did a study for the EPA on these incinerators, and in every case, it came out to be below the acceptable EPA emission standards. I am still fine-tuning the incinerator, and right now, we just about have it where we want it. Today was a perfect day and it went very well.”

The portable and compact incinerator, Czajkowski said, weighs more than 2,400 pounds and can incinerate up to 66 pounds of illicit drugs within roughly an hour.

Additionally, the diesel-fueled device literally cremates the drugs at temperatures exceeding 1,800 degrees.

“Everything is refined perfectly, but that doesn’t mean that these burn chambers are going to operate with absolute zero smoke,” he said.

“The smoke still meets EPA regulations, and obviously marijuana will burn a lot faster than other materials, such as pills.”

Following the demonstration, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said prior to acquiring the incinerator, drugs confiscated by deputies were stored away for safekeeping.

“Previously, during this administration, the drugs were boxed up, weighed, and stored in the evidence room,” she said.

“Everything had to be logged in and it took two people to move them. We were contracting with the same people that Las Vegas Metro was contracted with in Utah. Although we never did move anything, it was going to cost us about $10,000 to do that. It didn’t matter about the weight of the drugs, because they had a flat rate.”

Additionally, Wehrly said her office has a sizable backlog of drugs destined for the incinerator.

“We had stored up about 2,000 pounds of pills and other substances when we started this project,” she said.

“We tried to limit the amount of cardboard, paper and other similar materials, including plastics, which would actually go inside the incinerator.

“An example of that would be the blister packs containing pills. You may have 50 pills in a package and that’s how it goes in the incinerator. It’s perfectly legal. You don’t have to remove the pills from the blister packaging.”

Wehrly also noted that prior to becoming sheriff, confiscated drugs were disposed of in the town’s landfill.

“That is never a good thing,” she said.

“We wanted to avoid that, so we actually began storing them until we could find another safe way to dispose of them. That’s why we went to Utah first, but then the attorney general’s office came through for us.”

Special Assistant Attorney General for Law Enforcement, Counties and Municipalities Patricia Cafferata made the trip from Carson City to watch the demonstration.

More to come

Cafferata noted that Attorney General Adam Laxalt secured what she termed settlement money to purchase five of the incinerators, to be used around the Silver State.

“We wanted to locate them geographically so that the Northeast in Elko has one,” she said.

“They are getting ready to fire theirs up if they haven’t already. The sheriff in Carson City received one, and we also have one in Hawthorne. The latest one that just went online is in Storey County. We have one more to fire up in Boulder City.

“We are very excited that this one is number four. They are very expensive devices, costing about $50,000 each, plus all of the installation costs. We budgeted for all of that. The money came out of the attorney general’s substance abuse working group that is statutorily in our office.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Exposure forces closure of Pahrump Justice Court

The Pahrump Justice Court announced Monday that it will be closed effective Tuesday, July 7 because of a COVID-19 exposure.

Tax deadline coming up on July 15

As the July 15 deadline for filing income taxes nears, the IRS is reminding taxpayers who have yet to file that IRS.gov has tools and services to help them meet their tax obligations.

Bars closed again in Nye, 6 other Nevada counties

Nye County was one of seven Nevada counties affected when the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced the elevated disease transmission criteria for determining whether a county must revert to Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan for bars.

Appreciation Picnic honors Pahrump’s and Nye’s first responders

With red, white and blue decorations gracing tables, American flags and banners lining the fence and snapping in the breeze, balloons floating in the air and big smiles at the ready, area residents came together last week to honor the men and women who take on the duties of first responders for not just Pahrump but the entire county of Nye.

Pahrump pool season sinks amid lack of lifeguards

After the announcement that the 2020 Pahrump Community Pool season had been scrapped because of a lack of staffing applicants and the subsequent push to get more locals to apply for one one of the open positions that followed, the town of Pahrump was hoping that this year’s pool season would be saved.

UNR scientists make key advance in X-ray images

A team of scientists, led by University of Nevada, Reno’s Hiroshi Sawada, an associate professor of physics, demonstrated that numerical modeling accurately reproduces X-ray images using laser-produced X-rays. The images were obtained using the university’s chirped pulse amplification-based 50-terawatt Leopard laser at their Zebra Pulsed Power Lab.

Studies determine shutdown saved millions

Two separate research studies determined that shutdown orders prevented about 60 million coronavirus infections in the United States and saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries.

Bicyclist dies after being struck by vehicle

A Pahrump man is dead after being struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle Friday evening, July 3rd.

Camp Fire of 2018 leads to new wildfire research

Moved by the tragedy of the 2018 Camp Fire, a team of engineers and scientists are coming together in a new five-year project to develop a comprehensive computational, live digital platform to predict and monitor wildfire risk that can be used by wildfire managers, emergency responders and utility companies to plan for, respond to and remediate wildfires.