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Interpreting DPS Lab Report

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October 07, 2003, 18:08
Barry Green
Interpreting DPS Lab Report
Caveat: Defense lawyer question that might be able to help all of us out.

For those that deal with "Nazi Labs", can anyone interpret the following DPS lab report (sorry for the large blank gap that follows but it won't go away):

ExhibitNet WeightResult
3901.41 grams

1284.00 milliliters
Methamphetamine (7.4 mg/10 ml)

Exhibit 3 consisted of TWO one (1) liter containers (submitted together for some reason as "Exhibit 3"). They can be described as containing a liquid with a white sediment.

The DA has talked to the chemist and, if I understand her explanation, the two containers had a combined weight of 901 grams and their "volume" was 1284 milliliters. That makes sense. But what about "7.4 mg/10 ml"? She, the DA, said that the chemist said that notation and analysis was typically done for federal prosecutions (no "adulterants or dilutants" there?). Anyone seen this before? Does it mean that for every 10 milliliters there were 7.4 milligrams of "pure" methamphetamine?

Thanks for the help.
October 08, 2003, 09:59
Martin Peterson
Barry, your question is pretty confusing to me. You initially indicate that 2 liters of a mixture were submitted for analysis, yet the report states that only 1.284 liters was examined or located. One issue is whether methamphetamine exists in a form other than the typical powder form we are most familiar with. My thought is that methamphetamine is generally a crystalline substance, but exactly when it is produced in the sodium-ammonia method is not completely clear. It is not clear to me whether the DPS labs attempt to identify methamphetamine before the last stages of the process (addition of HCl gas). I rather doubt the lab report reflects any attempt to quantify the proportion of "pure" methamphetamine. The 7.4 mg is not likely to mean 7.4 mg of pure methamphetamine, but rather the amount of solid substance vs. liquid. I do not know whether any of the liquid also contained methamphetamine. One has to remember that the term includes any salts, optical isomers and salts of optical isomers as well. But, none of this is likely of any importance to the criminal prosecution. The amount of pure methamphetamine is irrelevant, since we are talking about the aggregate weight (in this case more than 400 grams) of any mixture, solution, or other substance containing any quantity of methamphetamine.

[This message was edited by Martin Peterson on 10-08-03 at .]
October 08, 2003, 13:16
Had similar situation where chemist testifies that the solution (450g) would probably would probably only make about 6g of pure meth (app op does not make note of this, but that was what the chemist stated in testimony). It doesn't matter the weight of the entire liquid is used for purposes of indictment. See Ingram v. State, 11-02-00168-CR.
October 09, 2003, 09:03
Tim Cole
Some of the DPS labs are testing for purity. Depending upon the lab, we sometimes see the purity stated in the form of a percentage or, when in liquid form, in mg per ml. There is no legal reason whatsoever to do this and I have no idea why they do it, but they do. So my opinion, Barry, is that you are seeing exactly what you think it is.
October 09, 2003, 09:55
Barry Green
Thanks guys. I've since learned Tim is right. That is, this DPS does, at times, measure for purity.

This case is really amazing. The lab report shows methamphetamine of over 900 grams but, once you do the math, you have less than 1 gram of "pure methamphetamine". (I know it technically/legally doesn't matter, but it is interesting to know).

Martin: I apologize for being unclear in the original post. I meant to say two partially filled liter containers were submitted.

Thanks again, guys. I hope this topic is helpful to prosecutors and defense lawyers alike.
October 09, 2003, 13:16
Tim Cole
Yeah, I've had several cases like yours. The substance that you have there may actually not even be intended to be finished product. It might be pour-off or "bones", the leftover stuff after the meth is produced, but under the legal definition of meth it is all meth.