Dancing on coke : smuggling cocaine dispersed in polyvinyl alcohol
van Nuijs, Alexander L.N.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Journal of forensic sciences. - Philadelphia, Pa
, p. 234-238
University of Antwerp
Recent trends suggest that cocaine smugglers have become more and more inventive to avoid seizures of large amounts of cocaine transported between countries. We report a case of a mail parcel containing a dance pad which was seized at the Customs Department of Brussels Airport, Belgium. After investigation, the inside of the dance pad was found to contain a thick polymer, which tested positive for cocaine. Analysis was performed using a routine colorimetric swipe test, gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The polymer was identified as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and contained 18% cocaine, corresponding to a street value of (sic) 20,000. Laboratory experiments showed that cocaine could be easily extracted from the PVA matrix. This case report reveals a new smuggling technique for the transportation of large amounts of cocaine from one country to another.