Forensic isotope analysis
Research Review By:
Meier-Augenstein, Wolfram Stable Isotope Unit, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, United Kingdom.
- Stable isotopes
- Stable isotope analysis
- Chemically indistinguishable yet not the same
- Human provenancing
- Case examples
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Are two cocaine “bricks” seized as part of two independent police operations part of the same drug-running operation or are they part of two different drug-dealing organizations operating in the same city? Are the hundreds of ecstasy tablets seized during the search of a suspected drug dealer's house linked to the handful of ecstasy tablets found on the suspect or are they, as per the suspect's defense, completely unrelated, having been stashed unbeknownst to him by a friend crashing at his home for a night? Was an unidentified homicide victim a local resident or had this person only recently moved to this location? When is one batch of methamphetamine not the same as another batch of methamphetamine? All these questions have two things in common. First, these are all questions typically asked in the context of a legal case, be it criminal or civil law. Second, these questions can all be answered by stable isotope forensics, which is the forensic application of stable isotope analytical techniques.
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