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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

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