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Illegal Route Estimation of the Seized Illicit Drug, Methamphetamine, by the Comparison of Striation Marks on Plastic Packaging Films

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In Japan, the most common illicit drug is methamphetamine. It is possible to trace the origin of this drug by analyzing its organic and inorganic impurities and/or byproducts using several methods, such as GC, GC/MS, and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). As reported here, one other method includes comparison of the striation lines of polymer sheet layers from packaging using a polarized light method. Other alternative methods include analyzing the heat sealer pattern, layer thickness surface characteristics, and/or components of polymer sheet layers using infrared spectroscopy. Several of these alternative methods were used to analyze the origins of 29 packages confiscated from three regions over a 1000 km distance in Japan. Results indicated that packages seized from different regions had some polymer sheet layers which contained striation lines and heat sealer patterns that were similar.
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Keywords: forensic science; methamphetamine; polarizing plate; polymer; route estimation; striation marks

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Research Institute of Police Science, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-0882, Japan.

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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