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Drugfire is a multimedia database imaging system that automates the comparison of images of bullet cartridge cases, shell casings and bullets that was developed by MSI (Mnemonic System Inc.)[1]. It is a multimedia database imaging system that allows examiners from across the country to compare and link evidence obtained in the form of spent cartridges and other ammunition casings [2]. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation came under pressure to respond to the wave of gun violence gripping American cities during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, the FBI sub-contracted MSI to come up with a faster way of comparing and linking evidence obtained in the form of spent cartridges and other ammunition casings from Drug-related crimes across the country[3].

File:Identfy features of Bullet.gif

Development Edit

From the years of 1991 and 1992, MSI devolved Drugfire, a forensic imaging system that allows investigators to compare ammunition markings from a specific shooting to databases of seemingly unrelated shootings which allowed the FBI to solve numerous cases[4].


Cases Solved By Drugfire Edit

The following is a murder case that was directly attributed to being solved by Drugfire:

The Murder of Tommie Cain Edit

One case that was solved by Drugfire was the Murder of Tommie Cain, the Oakland Police had little to go on, witnesses provided little information. The next month, an Oakland patrol officer pulled over Jovan Reynolds and Henry Bruce for a routine traffic stop. Both had felony records, the officer found a .38-caliber revolver in the car. Because no other known crimes had been committed at the time the gun was found, officers took their time getting ballistics exams done of the gun. Several months later, when the gun was test-fired, police found that its bullet matched a bullet already in the imaging system, that slug had come from Cain's body. With the information, Reynolds and Bruce were questioned and eventually confessed to the murder. It turned out Cain had run into the men while they were in the midst of a day-long robbery spree and they had shot Cain while attempting to escape. Police investigators said the case would most likely still had been open if not for the use of Drugfire[5].


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How Drugfire Differs from the Old Method of Identifying Shot Casings Edit

Before Drugfire was invented, firearm examiners had to rely on a technique devised in the 1920s to compare ammunition markings, this involved looking at a casing under a microscope and the examiner had to compare the two casings to see if there were similar markings on the bullet which would most likely mean that the bullets had been fired from the same gun[6].

Statistics of Drugfire's Usage Edit

Drugfire has been considered by many experts to be a widespread success because it has resulted in many previously unsolved "cold cases" being solved [7]. The following illustrates some statistics of the usage Drugfire.


  • Drugfire is currently being used by more than 500 firearm examiners and technicians.
  • Drugfire has processed in excess of 65,000 Homicide and Murder cases worldwide.
  • Drugfire has matched and as a result solved more than 5,200 cases worldwide.[8]

References Edit

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  1. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/1997/05/19/focus6.html Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - Info about the maker of Drugfire
  2. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/1997/05/19/focus6.html Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - How Drugfire works
  3. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/backissu/april2000/schehl2.htm Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - About the national database of ammunition casings
  4. http://www.saf.org/USAtoday102799.html Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - How Drugfire allowed numerous unrelated cases to be linked and solved
  5. http://www.saf.org/USAtoday102799.html Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - Info about the Murder of Tommie Cain and how Drugfire helped solved the case
  6. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/1997/05/19/focus6.html Retrieved on February 5th 2008 - How Drugfire identifies bullet casings
  7. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/publications/tech_success_stories/DRUGFIRE.htm - Retrieved on February 8th 2008 - Info about the success of Drugfire
  8. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/publications/tech_success_stories/DRUGFIRE.htm - Retrieved on February 8th 2008 - Info about Drugfire's use and relative success

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