The effects of microwave irradiation on occluded solvents in illicitly produced cocaine hydrochloride
Morello DR, Casale JF, Stevenson ML, Klein RF
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration,
Special Testing and Research Laboratory,
McLean, VA 22102-3494, USA.
J Forensic Sci 2000 Sep; 45(5):1126-32 2000 Sep; 39(9):1190-7


The current clandestine methodology for the manufacture of illicit cocaine hydrochloride utilizes microwave heating in order to dry the finished product. This study addresses the effects this step has on the occluded solvents present in newly prepared cocaine hydrochloride. Nine 1-kilogram-sized batches of cocaine hydrochloride were prepared from cocaine base using a variety of solvents or solvent mixtures commonly utilized in clandestine laboratories, pressed into bricks, and submitted to microwave heating. Residual solvents were qualitatively and quantitatively monitored before, during, and following the microwaving step by static headspace-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. All solvents used in the conversion process were easily detected in the bricks even after extensive irradiation, confirming that occluded solvents are extremely resistant to removal by microwave heating. Qualitative and quantitative data corresponding to the residual solvents in the prepared cocaine hydrochloride bricks are presented.

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