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Report Finds Metro Uses Faulty Field Drug Tests To Convict

Flickr/Jack Spades

As party central USA, Clark County attracts more than its share of people doing illegal drugs.

As a result, Las Vegas police, who oversee the entire county, arrest and charge thousands with drug possession or trafficking. By 1990, police averaged 4,000 drug arrests per year.

But a new report by ProPublica, a non-profit investigative newsroom, is casting big doubts on the color-changing field tests that police use to identify a drug.

And according to the story published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, police here have long known the tests were unreliable but kept using them anyway.

The story by Ryan Gabrielson also questioned the Clark County Public Defender's Office for not challenging the tests in court. Gabrielson said the Clark County District Attorney, Steve Wolfson, would not talk to him for the story.


Ryan Gabrielson, reporter, ProPublica

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.