In the 1990s, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department began making thousands of arrests every year using inexpensive test kits meant to detect illegal drugs. Officers simply had to drop suspected cocaine or methamphetamine taken from someone’s pocket or the floorboards of their car into a pouch of chemicals and watch for telltale changes in colors. Known as “field tests,” police embraced them as essential in busting drug users and dealers. Local judges became sold on the kits’ usefulness . . .
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