HOME | LOG IN | SIGN UP

LCMS Method for the Determination of Illicit Drug Residues on Paper Currency

Lockie C. Ieong, Stanley D. Menacherry, Frederick P. Smith

Abstract


A simple, sensitive, and specific method was developed for determination of cocaine-related substances, amphetamine-like stimulants, caffeine, and ketamine residues on paper currency. The method comprises of solvent extraction, solid phase cleanup and concentration, liquid chromatography separation, and ESI mass spectrometric detection in MRM mode (LCMS). Assay parameters showed high specificity, sensitivity, and excellent accuracy and precision. The assay had a sufficient dynamic concentration range to capture the large variation in residues observed on test samples. The LLOQ for the injected extract was 5 ng/mL for all analytes except for caffeine (50 ng/mL). Converted to the lowest quantifiable amount on a single banknote, this calculated as 2.5 ng of each analyte (25 ng for caffeine). Co-extracted substances from the banknotes were found to enhance the analyte signal in electrospray ionization. Enhancement ranged from 140% for caffeine to 480% for ketamine. The LCMS method was successfully applied to the analysis of banknotes originating from Macao, China. Banknotes were collected from four major metropolitan areas in Macao. Four or more drug residues were detected on the majority of the currency notes samples. Ketamine was the predominant analyte detected (98%), followed by methamphetamine (96%), cocaine (95%), metabolite benzoylecgonine (87%), methamphetamine/caffeine combination (“Magu”) (91%), and MDMA (14%).

Interestingly, ketamine was the predominant illicit drug detected on Macao banknotes. This was unexpected as ketamine is not known to be generally popular with the locals. The residue patterns demonstrate the role of external influences on illegal drug-use. Macao’s gaming-based economy attracts tourists from mainland China and surrounding regions such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Gaming attracts individuals who are thought to exceed the general population's average for controlled substance abuse and trafficking. These findings indicate that environmental residues of illicit drugs should be taken into account when interpreting drug testing results.

Keywords: Macao, China, Pataca, international drug trafficking, gambling, ketamine, Magu, LC-MS/MS, drug testing, contamination, signal enhancement, forensics


Full Text:

References


"Crime and Gambling in Macao." In Handbook of Chinese Criminology, edited by Bill Hebenton, Ivan Y. Sun, and Liqun Cao, by Spencer D. Li, 309-324. 2013.

"Currency in Circulation in Macao." Monetary Authority of Macao. Accessed December 27, 2014. http://www.amcm.gov.mo/currency/Currency.htm.

Armenta, S., and M. de la Guardia. "Analytical methods to determine cocaine contamination of banknotes from around the world." Trends in Analytical Chemistry 27, no. 4. (2008): 344-351.

Bao, Yan-ping, Yi Qiu, Shi-yan Yan, Zhen-jun Jia, Su-xia Li, Zhi Lian, Yue Mu, and Zhi-min Liu. "Pattern of Drug Use and Depressive Symptoms among Amphetamine Types Stimulants Users in Beijing and Guangdong Province, China." PlOS ONE 8, no. 4 (2013): 1-7, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060544. Accessed January 4, 2015.

Butler, John M. Fundamentals of Forensic DNA Typing. Burlington, MA: Academic Press, 2010.

Central Intelligence Agency. "The World Factbook." Accessed December 25, 2014. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mc.html

Couper, Fiona J. and Logan, Barry K. Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets. Washington: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2004.

Esteve-Turrillas, Francesc A., Sergio Armenta, Javier Moros, Salvador Garrigues, Agustin Pastor, and Miguel De La Guardia. "Validated, Non-destructive and Environmentally Friendly Determination of Cocaine in Euro Bank Notes." Journal of Chromatography A 1065, no. 2. (2005): 321-25.

Hudson, J. C. "Analyses of Currency for Cocaine Contamination." Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 22, no. 2 (1989): 203-17.

Jameson, David. “Principles of Fluorescence Techniques”. Lecture, Genova, Italy, June 14-16, 2004.

Jenkins, Amanda J. "Drug Contamination of US Paper Currency." Forensic Science International 121, no. 3. (2001): 189-93.

Li, Jih-Heng, Balasingam Vicknasingam, Yuet-wah Cheung, Adhi Wibowo Nurhidayat, Don C Des Jarlais, and Richard Schottenfeld. "To Use or Not to Use: An Update on Licit and Illicit Ketamine." Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation 2, no. 1. (2011): 11-20, doi: 10.2147/SAR.S15458. Accessed January 4, 2015.

Luzardo, Octavio P., Maira Almeida, Manuel Zumbado, and Luis D. Boada. "Occurrence of Contamination by Controlled Substances in Euro Banknotes from the Spanish Archipelago of the Canary Islands." Journal of Forensic Science 56, no. 6. (2011): 1588–1593.

Mercolini, Laura, Roberto Mandrioli, Bruno Saladini, Matteo Conti, Cesare Baccini, and Maria Augusta Raggi. "Quantitative Analysis of Cocaine in Human Hair by HPLC with Fluorescence Detection." Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 48, no. 2. (2008): 456-61.

Nakashima, Kenichiro. "High-performance Liquid Chromatographic Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in Biologic Samples." Journal of Health Science 51, no. 3. (2005): 272-77.

Negrusz, Adam, Jennifer L. Perry, and Christine M. Moore. "Detection of Cocaine on Various Denominations of United States Currency." Journal of Forensic Science 43, no. 3. (1998): 626-29.

Oyler, Jonathan, William D. Darwin, and Edward J. Cone. "Cocaine Contamination of United States Paper Currency." Journal of Analytical Toxicology 20, no. 4. (1996): 213-16.

Smith, Frederick P., and Kevin R. McGrath. "Cocaine Surface Contamination and the Medico-legal Implication of Its Transfer." Egyptian Journal of Forensic Science 1, no. 1. (2011): 1-4.

Social Welfare Bureau, Governo Da Raem Instituto De Acção Social, Report of drug control in Macao 2009, Macao: 2009, http://www.antidrugs.gov.mo/anti/web/en/publication.php (accessed December 25, 2014).

Social Welfare Bureau, Governo Da Raem Instituto De Acção Social, Report of drug control in Macao 2010, Macao: 2010, http://www.antidrugs.gov.mo/anti/web/en/publication.php (accessed December 25, 2014).

Social Welfare Bureau, Governo Da Raem Instituto De Acção Social, Report of drug control in Macao 2011, Macao: 2011 http://www.antidrugs.gov.mo/anti/web/en/publication.php (accessed December 25, 2014).

Wimmer, Kurt, and Serge Schneider. "Screening for Illicit Drugs on Euro Banknotes by LC–MS/MS." Forensic Science International 206, no. 1-3. (2011): 172-77.

Zhao, Ruohui, and Jianhong Liu. "A System's Approach to Crime Prevention: The Case of Macao." Asian Criminology 6, no. 2. (2011): 207-27.

Zuo, Yuegang, Kai Zhang, Jingping Wu, Christopher Rego, and John Fritz. "An Accurate and Nondestructive GC Method for Determination of Cocaine on US Paper Currency." Journal of Separation Science 31, no. 13. (2008): 2444-450.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.