SAN ANGELO, TX -- Drug trafficking and human smuggling are issues that continue to impact the communities in the U.S. across the country.
Criminals constantly find new ways to smuggle illicit drugs and human beings into the country and from coast to coast. Keeping Americans safe is something that is at the core of Viken Detection and their aim to aid security agencies across the country.
Viken Detection, a privately owned company just outside of Boston, is helping agencies do their job more efficiently by developing products that provide a faster and more accurate picture of what or who may be attempting to cross at security checkpoints.
The company is dedicated to helping fight the opioid crisis that is increasingly affecting the country.
"We have seen the impact that opioids have had in our communities and want to do our part to take these bad things off the street," says CEO Jim Ryan.
One of Viken's signature products that has been helping agencies for years now is a handheld backscatter x-ray imaging system named HBI-120.
This device allows law enforcement to scan the interior of the car and detect hidden packages or compartments that may not be visible to the naked eye. Having the ability to search a vehicle in a non-invasive way has been an invaluable tool for agents across the country.
There are currently over 1,000 systems deployed across the world. As Viken works to improve its technology they have donated a handful of older model handheld scanners to law enforcement agencies that are fighting the opioid crisis in their communities. They plan on donating more over time.
Nearly daily, U.S. Customs and Border Protection release new reports of how smugglers, both foreign and domestic, attempt to bring in drugs and narcotics into the county. During the 2020 fiscal year alone, CBP confiscated a total of 294,950 pounds in illegal drugs and narcotics.
But smuggling isn't limited to drugs and Viken Detection has developed a top of the line under-vehicle x-ray vehicle imager, dubbed Osprey-UVX, can further aid in helping agents inspect vehicles and prevent human trafficking.
"One of the most difficult areas to search a vehicle is underneath, with this technology we are able to do it very quickly, safely, and effectively," said Ryan.
Having the ability to scan the undercarriage of a vehicle as it crosses over a checkpoint can provide agents with clear scans of what may be hidden inside even before agents interact with the occupants of the vehicle.
"We are focused on innovation," says Ryan. "We know this type of technology takes time to develop and perfect. We love what we do and we are excited to help keep the public and officers safe."
The images emitted by the hidden items also provide agents with a general idea of what may be inside -- as certain types of drugs register differently.
"Backscatter technology works a lot the way your eyes see reflected light," said Ryan. "It's very intuitive when you look at these images as opposed to a traditional x-ray."
The Osprey-UVX can reveal hidden compartments within the vehicle that would require an invasive search and extensive manpower. Hidden compartments generally serve as a good option for traffickers to smuggle in people, drugs, and explosives.
Osprey-UVX is expected to be implemented next year at the border and across the country.
"We know a lot of drugs are getting across and we are focused on keeping our communities safe," said Ryan. "Anything we can do to help and make an impact is what we are about."