Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Forensic use of tandem mass-spectroscopy detects links between banknotes and drugs

01.07.2005


Research published in this month’s edition of the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, describes a method that can detect a pattern of contamination on banknotes from drug related crime that is different from the pattern seen in general circulation. The process is significantly faster than other previous methods.



“People involved in drug-trafficking are not always involved in handling illicit drugs, but they may possess cash that has been held by others who come into contact with drugs, so finding traces of drugs on an unusually high proportion of bank notes is another piece of evidence that could help guide a police investigation, or be used in court,” says co-author Karl Ebejer.

Work by the same group has shown that traces of cocaine may be found on a majority of banknotes. In the present study Ebejer and his team looked for the chemical diacetylmorphine (DAM), which was found to be present on around 1 in 50 notes. DAM is the major active component of illicit heroin and the most characteristic marker for that drug.


Mass spectrometry determines the chemical nature of a compound even if there is only a minute sample. In Ebejer’s process, banknotes recovered during police raids were heated to 285 oC causing chemicals to vaporise. The vapours were sucked into the detector and the chemicals smashed into fragments. One of the features of mass spectrometry is that each chemical reliably produces a unique set of fragments. The detector then looked for two particular fragments.

Finding both of these on a bank note showed that the note was contaminated with DAM. Finding lots of contaminated bank notes in a bundle indicates that the money had recently been in contact with heroin and is, therefore, unlikely to have come from general circulation.

“The association doesn’t prove guilt, but cries out for an explanation,” says Ebejer. “If a defendant can offer no reasonable explanation as to why they possess a large quantity of cash, and why this cash is highly contaminated with heroin a jury must draw its own conclusions.”

Julia Lampam | alfa
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/rcm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bioenergy cropland expansion could be as bad for biodiversity as climate change
11.12.2018 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen

nachricht How glial cells develop in the brain from neural precursor cells
11.12.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electronic evidence of non-Fermi liquid behaviors in an iron-based superconductor

11.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Topological material switched off and on for the first time

11.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs

11.12.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>