Old Drug Lab Equipment Gets New Life at UH

Wayne Wills
Wayne Wills
Thomas Hemscheidt
Thomas Hemscheidt

MANOA (KHNL) -- Equipment that could have been used to make drugs is now on the University of Hawaii campus and faculty could not be happier.

Cash, crystal methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia are usually showcased after meth labs are busted in the islands.

But equipment to make the lab is hardly ever spot lighted.  Until now.

"What you see here is 20 percent of what was seized in June of 2005," said Wayne Wills, a spokesperson of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division.

An estimated $10,000 to $15,000 of drug making equipment was taken.

After sending the Mililani man, responsible for producing ice to prison for ten years, the federal government then turned their attention to college students.

"We thought instead of disposing of the lab equipment through the normal destruction process, that it could benefit the students of the University of Hawaii," added Wills.

Because this is not your bland old beakers and run of the mill machines. These are high quality glass wares and equipment needed by the chemistry department.

"This is glassware that is useful in research, in the preparation of organic compounds," said Thomas Hemscheidt, chair of the UH Chemistry Department.

The federal government says it is unknown if the equipment was used to manufacture drugs in the islands. But regardless of the sordid history of these supplies, chemicals and machines, the school will put them to use in their own labs.

"Our budgets are somewhat limited and colleges are always happy to have donations of useable equipment," said the UH Manoa Interim Dean of Natural Sciences.

This is the first time the federal government has donated drug lab materials to the University of Hawaii.