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Western Crime Lab

The Western Regional Laboratory is located in Asheville and was the first satellite laboratory in the state, established in the early 1980s. The building consists of 14,000 square feet of laboratory space staffed by full-time analysts and support personnel who serve state, federal, and local law enforcement in western North Carolina.

The Western Regional Crime Lab currently provides criminal justice agencies with forensic analysis in the following disciplines: latent evidence and drug chemistry. We recently expanded the Western Lab to add a toxicology unit to provide blood alcohol and blood drug analysis.

The North Carolina Department of Justice will break ground on a new Western Regional Crime Lab facility in Edneyville later this year that will be roughly twice as large as the current facility. The new facility is expected to open in 2017 and will add DNA analysis to the types of forensic services available at the lab.

The Latent Evidence Section uses a wide variety of traditional chemical, light sources, and image enhancement to process evidence and develop prints. Once visible, the prints are compared to known standards, as well as the AFIS database (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) for analysis. Shoe and Tire Track Analysis is performed by trained personnel.

The Drug Chemistry Section is a modern forensic drug analysis laboratory. Submissions follow national trends monitored by the DEA, with marijuana and cocaine making up the majority of drugs analyzed. A great number of tablets, pharmaceutical and illicit, are submitted each year. Clandestine laboratory sites remain an issue in western North Carolina, with methamphetamine as the predominate substance manufactured.

The Western Crime Laboratory serves law enforcement in North Carolina counties that are generally west of Interstate 77.

Western Regional Crime Lab: Forensic Scientist Manager Joseph D. Reavis