- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Officials say the state’s opening of a new crime lab in eastern Montana will expedite the evidence identification process in small-scale drug cases.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1VVlMDX ) that Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced the crime lab’s opening Thursday at the Billings Clinic. The opening of the lab comes after months of delays, and evidence is already starting to get processed at the facility.

Officials anticipate the lab will process about 700 cases each year and serve 27 eastern Montana counties, with most cases coming from Yellowstone County.

The new facility will only test and identify drugs, while the larger Missoula Crime Lab continues to cover the majority of forensic testing.

The Legislature approved the new lab in 2015 to address a backlog of evidence testing across the state.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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