Inside The Nationwide Crime Lab Backlog, Including At The Arkansas Crime Lab

Officials announced last July that a new Crime Lab satellite office was coming to Northwest Arkansas. The lab is set to open next month.

On New Year’s Eve in 2016, Dasha Fincher was on her way to a pawn shop in Macon, Georgia with her boyfriend. She said she wasn’t nervous when she got pulled over by a police officer, “because we weren’t doing anything wrong.”

Dashcam video showed that the pair was calm and cooperative – but things changed when the officer found a bag in the backseat. It was a bag of cotton candy, which Fincher said was left in the car on a humid night, turning the fluffy treat into blue crystals. Results from a roadside test kit identified it as meth.

Less than eight minutes later, she was in handcuffs, charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Her bond was set at $1 million, an amount she couldn’t even come close to paying.

She sat in jail for three months.

But Georgia isn’t the only state facing a growing crime lab backlog: CBS News has uncovered that dozens of states are significantly behind.

It’s a problem in Arkansas, too, where crime lab director Kermit Channell says the problem escalated about six years ago in connection with the opioid crisis. In his lab alone, DNA and drug cases have nearly doubled since 2014.

But Arkansas’s governor approved more funding for the crime lab, and the state will open a new lab in July.

Read more of this story on CBS News.

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