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.
Julia Lampam | alfa
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