Mississippi gets second hand-held X-ray device to find illegal drugs

Mississippi gets second hand-held X-ray device to find illegal drugs

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Wherever the bad stuff is hidden, the Viken Hand-Held X-ray Imager will find it.

“Planes, trains and houses and trailers,” said Tim Valenti, executive director of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program. “Wherever it is, pretty much this thing can see through it.”

It’s all about convenience and speed.

“Looking inside an 18-wheeler, with this scanner, you could look inside of that and resolve an issue one way or another in minutes versus trying to search a tractor-trailer that may take literally hours,” Valenti added.

A federal grant through the Gulf Coast HIDTA purchased the state’s second X-ray device to fight drug threats throughout a five-state area, particularly along the interstate corridors.

“Having a piece of X-ray equipment that can actually be used to conduct X-rays without having to tear into the vehicles or tear through drywall is key to finding guns, weapons, drugs, money and all those things,” said Sean Tindell, Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner.

The device will be in the hands of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics but will be available to those law enforcement agencies that don’t already have one - primarily in Jackson and South Mississippi.

Officials said the high-tech machine has already proven its worth, which is about $52,000.

“It’s well over my head when it comes to understanding the technical operations of it, but I do know the results,” Valenti said. “And that’s all I’m worried about is the end results, that it’s helping seize drugs and taking dangerous drugs off the streets of Mississippi.”

The region now has eight of the machines now spread throughout the region.

Officials said close to 20 MBN officers will be trained on how to use the device.

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