Terrapinzflyer

Stamped Bricks of meth from a seizure

Southwest Laboratory (Vista, California) recently received two separate but similar sets of bricks of a highly compressed, off-white substance, all suspected methamphetamine. The first submission contained eight bricks, all imprinted with a stylized “X” logo (see Photo 2), whereas the second submission contained ten bricks, all imprinted with a rather crudely formed six-pointed “Star” (roughly similar to a Star of David; see Photo 3). The exhibits were all seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel from two different vehicles entering at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (San Diego); in both cases, the bricks were concealed in the vehicle’s spare tire. The bricks were similar in dimensions to standard cocaine kilogram bricks, and were also wrapped in multiple layers of plastic in the same manner typically seen with cocaine bricks; however, they were moist with solvent (odor of acetone and toluene), and weighed between 1.4 and 1.5 kilograms each when received (approximately 5-10 percent of this weight was lost on drying). Analysis of the eight-brick seizure (total net mass 10.81 kilograms dry weight) by FTIR-ATR, LC, and GC (both direct and after TPC derivatization) confirmed 99 percent d-methamphetamine hydrochloride. Analysis of the ten-brick seizure (total net mass 13.46 kilograms dry weight) by the same techniques confirmed 98 percent d-methamphetamine hydrochloride. Analysis of the solvent by Headspace-GC/MS confirmed a mixture of acetone and toluene. These were the first submissions of methamphetamine formed, imprinted, and packaged like cocaine to the Southwest Laboratory (previous submissions of rectangular packages of crystalline methamphetamine were contained in rigid containers (plastic, wood, or similar materials), not compressed and imprinted). [Editor’s Notes: The DEA South Central Laboratory (Dallas, Texas) received two separate submissions of “methamphetamine bricks” in 2006; however, in both cases the bricks were not high purity, were not imprinted with logos, and were much thinner than typical cocaine bricks. To date, these appear to be the only similar such submissions to the DEA laboratory system.]

Stamped Bricks of meth from a seizure