The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) recently arrested a Bolivian woman from Mumbai airport for allegedly carrying black cocaine.
- “Black cocaine” is a rare drug, is a mixture of regular cocaine and other chemicals of administrated quantity.
- In a bid to ensure that sniffer dogs used at airports do not detect cocaine, it is being used by drug peddlers coming to India from South American countries.
- It neutralises the smell of cocaine so that it can pass through checkpoints easily.
- Black cocaine is a mixture of regular cocaine base with various substances to camouflage typical appearance (e.g. charcoal), to interfere with colour-based drug tests (cobalt salts form deep red complexes in solution), to make the mixture undetectable by drug-sniffing dogs as activated carbon may sufficiently absorb trace odours.
- The pure cocaine base is then recovered from the mixture by extraction using common organic solvents such as methylene chloride or acetone.
- A second process is required to convert the cocaine base into powdered cocaine hydrochloride.