In plain sight: agents discuss finding illicit drugs concealed in ‘everyday’ items – KFYR

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -Amid rising overdose rates across the nation, largely due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, law enforcement work to keep deadly drugs out of our communities. The first step? Finding illegal substances.
In a Bismarck evidence room, there’s a collection of everyday objects that aren’t what they seem.
“Something as simple as a beer can that could be in the fridge… the top will just unscrew,” said a North Dakota agent as he held up a can with a secret compartment cut in it.
Each seemingly innocent item pulls double duty.
“You could put that inside a fridge with 24 or whatever other cans, and you would have no idea which one is which without checking every one,” said the agent.
Agents see these kinds of items every day.
Many items that were recovered in real searches have been saved to help train law enforcement to expect the unexpected as traffickers, or users, try to shield contraband from prying eyes
“In one instance, we couldn’t find the drugs. And he had a sharpie, I remember, sitting on his dash,” said the agent.
Officers work to stay one step ahead.
“We’ve actually seen since then because I learned my lesson on that, that we’ve seen pills and things like that in these,” said the agent holding up a marker with no ink.
Tricky items call for a thorough search.
“There’s not a space I don’t go that I don’t grab every object in there that I don’t twist it and try to pull it apart because you don’t know what’s a hide can and what’s not,” added the agent.
They’ve found drugs in hairspray and household cleaner cans, food and drink containers, batteries, and behind light switch boxes in walls, among other places.
While many of these hiding places are used by individuals struggling with addiction to conceal smaller amounts of drugs, criminal investigation agents have recovered larger quantities of drugs from traffickers in North Dakota using other inconspicuous places like inside tires and frame rails. Agents say each bust is one step closer to a safer community.
“Whether it be the fentanyl epidemic or meth. We know it’s killing the people in our communities and turning more and more people into addicts. If we can be smart and efficient when we search things and know and recognize things and find these hide cans, it just means it’s less poison that will be distributed in our community,” said the agent.
While hiding can sometimes visually and tactually fool humans, they don’t fool trained K9s.
While those struggling with addiction may work to conceal what they’re doing, behavioral health specialists say that if you’re concerned for a loved one, it’s best to look for signs of a problem, like shifts in behavior and mood, and open a conversation before worrying that everyday items are hiding something extra.
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