Bradford: Liquid Cocaine Smuggling Detection Problem Solved

30 Sep

Drug smugglers trying to hide cocaine in bottles of rum could be stopped in their tracks through a technique tested by British scientists.

Drug smuggling detection problem solved Enlarge photo 

The method, involving laser light, detected the dissolved substance in a variety of different coloured glass containers of ethanol as well as branded light and dark rum including Bacardi and Lamb’s, the study showed.

 Many attempts are made to illegally transport drugs into Britain – the most common being cocaine.

Currently, customs officials have to open bottles to test for cocaine – which has been dissolved in drinks such as rum to make it more difficult to detect – using high performance liquid chromatography.

But according to the study, published in Drug Testing and Analysis, the Raman spectroscopy technique works quickly through the packaging without having to disturb the container.

Researchers from the Universities of Bradford and Leeds said a portable Raman instrument may be the “solution” to detection problems as it allows for the “fast and effective screening of different solutions over a very short space of time”.

Using the laser technique to identify and analyse molecules as the light interacts with them and causes vibrations, the team found it could detect cocaine in rum at concentrations above 8 per cent.

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