Volume 33, Issue 3 (May 1988)
The Examination of Illicit Cocaine
A laboratory system of examination of illicit cocaine exhibits is described. Separation and identification of many of the components in exhibits are achieved by the use of capillary column gas chromatography and a Finnigan ion trap detector. Further examination and quantitation of the components of exhibits is achieved using two high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) systems. Both of these systems use identical reverse phase C8 columns. System 1 employs a solvent composed of 40% acetonitrile, 10% tetrahydrofuran and 50% 0.1% v/v aqueous triethylamine. The eluant is monitored at 280 nm. This system is preferred for routine quantitative analysis of cocaine and related alkaloids in exhibits. System 2 employs a solvent composed of 30% acetonitrile and 70% 0.05M phosphate buffer (pH = 5.0). The eluant from this system is monitored at both 220 and 280 nm. This system offers advantages in sensitivity. The relative retention times of a number of relevant substances as determined with gas chromatography and the two HPLC systems are given. The utility of the methodology for the identification and comparison of exhibits is demonstrated.