Drug analysis taxes South Dakota crime lab

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Rapid City’s forensic crime lab is trying to keep up with the high demand for drug evidence analysis.

The lab handles evidence from law enforcement throughout western South Dakota and last year had 1,414 requests for drug analysis, making 2018 the lab’s busiest year ever.

Officials say the numbers are even higher this year. Forensic chemist Carolyn Angi said the lab used to get about 60 cases a month, but that has grown to about 100 a month.

The lab’s director, Brendan Matthew, says increased cases of methamphetamine created a backlog of about two months in 2016, prompting the lab to hire another chemist. Matthew says they are very busy, but so far, have been able to keep up with the caseload.

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