The Parker County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased a drug incinerator, which will save time and tax dollars, according to the sheriff’s office.

Previously, several Parker County sheriff’s employees would travel five hours to Carthage bi-annually to destroy seized drugs by the truckloads, costing a minimum of $1,000 per trip. The costs also included a charge per pound and employee salaries.

Once the Carthage facility was unable to keep up with the demands from outside agencies, the sheriff’s office came up with a plan to purchase their own incinerator.

Parker County Sheriff’s Property Clerk Dedra Vick said the last trip made to destroy drugs was in 2017, causing an overwhelming caseload and a large backlog of cases with court ordered destruction notices.

Vick contacted numerous agencies seeking information on how other departments disposed of their seized drugs. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the manner of destruction, mandating the process to safeguard the environment.

After researching all available avenues, the Drug Terminator was purchased for $4,000, and is maintained in a secured, undisclosed location within the county.

“It’s the best environmentally-friendly method for drug destruction,” Vick said. “The process leaves no waste and no damage to the air, ground or water supply. By the time the drugs are completely burned, the remaining ash is safe to throw away like regular refuse.”

Since July 2018, the sheriff’s office had destroyed more than 2,000 drug exhibits from hundreds of cases, each ranging in weight from about a gram to over 10 pounds.

Vick said the Drug Terminator completely destroys all drugs including methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and prescription drugs.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said about 95 percent of the seized drugs were from the Parker County Special Crimes Unit cases.

“The use of the Drug Terminator allows a more efficient destruction, leaving us to do our jobs and not taking our employees away from their regular duties,” Fowler said. “This was a wise investment on the part of the county. By the end of this year, the incinerator will have paid for itself, saving future tax dollars.”