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Profiling of contaminants in illicit drug samples for source identification.

Trafficking of drugs in South Carolina is not uncommon because major interstates pass through the state. When drugs are confiscated, the manufacturing or processing origin is of importance to the forensic chemist because identification of impurities and contaminants enables matching of different samples and correlation with drug trafficking activities. We have catalogued and examined over 2,000 gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric analyses of drug samples confiscated during recent SLED investigations in Richland, Kershaw, and Charleston counties. We have used multivariate statistical methods (principal component analysis and cluster analysis) to validate identification of the chemical nature of the underlying similarities of these confiscated drug samples. The use of these pattern recognition tools with drug profiling allows the forensic chemist to cluster confiscated drugs into groups of materials that are similar because of their trace background contaminants.
Angela C. Powell, Christopher R. Mubarak, Stephen L. Morgan
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The University of South Carolina, Columbia

Demi Garvin
Drug Identification Laboratory
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
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Author:Powell, Angela C.; Mubarak, Christopher R.; Morgan, Stephen L.; Garvin, Demi
Publication:Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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