Characterisation of aqueous waste produced during the clandestine production of amphetamine following the Leuckart route utilising solid-phase extraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and capillary electrophoresis with contactless conductivity detection

Chemical waste from the clandestine production of amphetamine is of forensic and environmental importance due to its illegal nature which often leads to dumping into the environment. In this study, 27 aqueous amphetamine waste samples from controlled Leuckart reactions performed in Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland were characterised to increase knowledge about the chemical composition and physicochemical characteristics of such waste. Aqueous waste samples from different reaction steps were analysed to determine characteristic patterns which could be used for classification. Conductivity, pH, density, ionic load, and organic compounds were determined using different analytical methods. Conductivity values ranged from 1 to over 200 mS/cm, pH values from 0 to 14, and densities from 1.0 to 1.3 g/cm3. A capillary electrophoresis method with contactless conductivity detection (CE-C4 D) was developed and validated to quantify chloride, sulphate, formate, ammonium, and sodium ions which were the most abundant ions in the investigated waste samples. A solid-phase extraction sample preparation was used prior to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis to determine the organic compounds. Using the characterisation data of the known samples, it was possible to assign 16 seized clandestine waste samples from an amphetamine production to the corresponding synthesis step. The data also allowed us to draw conclusions about the synthesis procedure and used chemicals. The presented data and methods could support forensic investigations by showing the probative value of synthesis waste when investigating the illegal production of amphetamine. It can also act as starting point to develop new approaches to tackle the problem of clandestine waste dumping.

Authors: Hauser FM, Hulshof JW, Rößler T, Zimmermann R, Pütz M. ; Full Source: Drug Test Analysis. 2018 Apr 18. doi: 10.1002/dta.2394. [Epub ahead of print]

Posted in Uncategorized