Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How dirty is your money?

13.09.2007
Drug dealers found with bank notes contaminated with unusually high levels of drugs are now less likely to get away with their crimes, thanks to new evidence from a team led by the University of Bristol. The research finds that geographical location has absolutely no influence on the distribution of contamination.

The results will be announced at the BA Festival of Science in York and the paper will be published in Forensic Science International on Thursday 13 September.

Paper money is almost always tainted with some drug residue. Evidence presented at court shows how banknotes seized from a suspect may differ from banknotes in general circulation, in the form of higher contamination with drugs.

A question arising from such evidence is whether seized banknotes could have become contaminated through being in circulation in drug ‘hot spots’. Defendants may claim that bank notes from such places are more likely to have a high level of drug residue, even if arising from innocent sources.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Mass Spec Analytical Ltd, a company based in Bristol, have now shown this argument to be invalid.

Gavin Lloyd, Karl Ebejer and colleagues analysed £10 and £20 notes from areas across the UK that are rich and poor, urban and rural, safe and dangerous. These also included whether a town is a port of entry – smugglers often use these to bring drugs into the UK – or whether a region has high levels of drug offenders in the community.

Gavin Lloyd from the University of Bristol, said: “The UK's black economy in drug dealing is estimated to be around £4 billion a year, similar to the entire economy of New Zealand. For obvious reasons this economy involves substantial cash-in-hand transactions. We wanted to answer two questions: could there be small localised cash-in-hand economies where the levels of contamination are higher because of a high number of drug users, and could highly contaminated banknotes be found on innocent people living in these areas?”

Using a mass spectrometer, the researchers performed a chemical analysis of each bill, allowing them to gather information on the levels of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy on each bank note, and related those measurements to where the note came from.

Using powerful statistical analysis of the results, their conclusions are that geographical location has absolutely no influence on the distribution of contamination. A probable explanation is that banknotes are rapidly mixed by the banking system and circulate via regional depots, and so localised ‘economies’ have little influence on contamination patterns.

Karl Ebejer from Mass Spec Analytical Ltd added: “On each trip to the bank, the researcher would note the arm on which he was wearing his wristwatch. The statistics showed that the arm he wore his watch on had as much relevance to the amount of drug residue found on those bills, as where the bills came from.”

Cherry Lewis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk

Further reports about: CONTAMINATED Contamination Influence banknotes

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens
14.08.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments
14.08.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>