Physical evidence in drug intelligence, Part 2: discrimination of packaging tapes by colour

Taylor & Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2008, 40 (1), pp. 73 - 83
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The authors have considered routine exploitation of physical evidence from seized shipments of illicit drugs for intelligence purposes. Part 1 of this series addressed the identification of polymer type within the adhesive pf packaging tapes and raised important issues with regard to how data should be collated in a databse as a basis for reliable drug intelligence. this article expands onthis topic by addressingt eh sue of colour for achieving the same aim. By using a relatively simple instrumental technique to analyse opaque 'brown' packaging tapes, it was found that colour was an effective way to discriminate between different adhesive tape samples. However, unitial results showed that the analysis of colour in packaging tapes was more complex than assigning seminsubjective names to particular hues (e.g. light brown, greenm brown etc). Instead, samples in the population often differed only slightly from one another and hence proved difficult to categorise. Thus, a database or analyst must avoid using such 'discrete' labels and instead make use of 'continuous' numerical data. Here, CIELab chromaticity coordinates were used to define representative colour spaces for each tape sample and these were then compared to determine whether two such volumes intersected. This process would decide whether or not the sampes could be discriminated. While several sets of data were compared, further work needs to be carried out into the consistency of colour within single rolls of tape or batches of tape.
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