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Pilot program at university in Fla. trains LE agencies on how to use drug analysis device

The device can identify drugs and cutting agents within a substance in seconds

By Joanna Putman

MIAMI, Fla. — Florida International University (FIU) is working with law enforcement to test a drug detection “gun,” which can identify a range of substances, NBC Miami reported.

The Pendar X10 device was created to help law enforcement identify whether substances contain fentanyl, according to the report. In seconds, it can scan a substance and display results identifying its composition.

“[Officers using the technology] can actually analyze the sample find out what’s in it, what cutting agents are being used and then if there’s a death maybe locally, they can tie in maybe hey this is the same drugs, or cutting agents that were found next to the person or a different crime scene,” said Kirk Grates, a forensic chemistry project manager with FIU.

The technology will be tested in partnership with FIU’s Global Forensic and Justice Center, according to the report. The free pilot program from the university was launched to help train first responders how to use the device. As a part of the pilot program, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will be using the Pendar X10 for six months.

“Partnerships like this like we have with FIU are really advantageous to the sheriff’s office because it gives us better safer ways to test drugs and to help the deputies and the community to stay safe together,” said Capt. Chad Cave of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the sheriff’s office, three other agencies have expressed interest in participating in the pilot program, according to the report.