What happens to all the drugs, guns and other items seized by police?
Dear Urban Decoder: What happens to all the drugs, guns and other items seized by police?—Elizabeth Wong, East York
All appropriated drugs are first taken to a Health Canada lab, where forensic scientists test them to figure out their exact composition. Samples of the dope are then stored, along with weapons and every other imaginable object, in a high-security warehouse. (Police describe the 34,000-square-foot facility as a kind of Home Depot for stolen property, stocked with some 176,000 items.) Drugs are destroyed at secret biohazard facilities, which incinerate everything in accordance with stringent federal regulations (lest some “special” smoke escape from the chimneys). Experts de-commission illegal weapons by either melting them in super-hot ovens or by using high-powered saws to slice them into tiny pieces. The warehouse receives more than 1,500 stolen bikes a year, and since most owners don’t bother reporting the thefts, the bikes are usually sold on eBay. As for the rest of the merch, such as furniture or artwork, police do their best to find the lawful owners as quickly as possible. Artifacts connected to murders are the exception. These are kept for 25 years in case advances in DNA testing or other forensic technologies enable CSI types to extract new clues from them.