"Evidence from a clandestine lab in eastern Europe suggests that gangs are trying to hide cocaine by incorporating it into a host of innocent-looking transparent plastic consumer products, such as fish tanks, DVD cases or light fittings for cars. These could be imported en masse with no customs officer giving them a second look.
"The trick came to light after police searched an abandoned tenement building in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where they suspected cocaine was being produced. There they found a makeshift lab complete with mixers, drying systems and containers filled with various solvents, plus translucent lumps of plastic littering the floor.
"Analysis of the plastic showed that it consisted mainly of polymethyl methacrylate (better known as plexiglas or perspex) laced with cocaine hydrochloride. 'The crime scene was obviously being used for the isolation of cocaine from polymethyl methacrylate resin,' says Tomaz Gostic of Slovenia's Forensic Science Institute in Ljubljana, who will be publishing his analysis in Forensic Science International."