Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A proud moment for chemistry students everywhere

From English-language German news outlet, an all-too-common story
A 28-year-old student at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich used the laboratory to analyse drugs for two dealers in return for some cocaine. 
An unnamed student at the university appeared before court on Monday after giving in to stress and resorting to helping drug dealers with their business.
Two pushers wanted to know how pure their product was, so they recruited a 28-year-old student to be their Heisenberg and test it for them. They posted cocaine and crystal meth to the student, and he brought it to the Grosshadern Klinikum - LMU’s hospital and research centre and part of the largest hospital complex in Munich. 
There he proceeded to test the drugs to determine the potency of the active ingredients.The student was surprised that he was in trouble and told the court that he didn’t know he was guilty of any offence. 
The Chemistry student also defended himself to the Munich court by saying that his tests failed to produce anything meaningful. “I made up the results,” he said. 
As a reward for his 'findings', the dealers gave the student between two and four grams of cocaine.
This sounds like some sort of bizarre comedy movie, especially when the dealer's name was "Shiny Flakes" (HT to Lisa Jarvis for this last detail.)

(It is interesting to me how this thing always seems to involve students and not chemistry professionals - a problem of youth, or do professional chemists want too much money to ply their trade illegally?) 


  1. students tend to be more inept, foolish, and easy to prosecute. There were cases in the pharma industry too (two out of my last four employers, for example) but it gets typically hushed - especially if some high level guys from management are involved...

  2. There was a chemist at the duPont Experimental Station years ago who made analogs. He was prosecuted by DEA.

    He didn't learn anything. Was shot by Delaware State Police a few years later (suicide by trooper) when he didn't show up to trial. (Never bring a paring knife to a shotgun fight - guess he missed that class.)

  3. It's not just students. A lab tech at Auburn University was using his position to purchase and sell 1,4-butanediol which becomes GHB when ingested. It seems like people who have little supervision and no scruples that tend to go down the "Breaking Bad" road.

    1. And speaking of Auburn, there was this guy:

      The article is incorrect in stating that he was a professor; he ran the mass spec facility.

  4. from a purely libertarian-type perspective, providing purity information about this substance for a fee would not necessarily be a bad thing

  5. Simple - college kids are more apt to have druggie friends who put them up to stuff like this. I'm in my mid-30s, and the druggies I knew in high school and college have either cleaned up and turned into suburban soccer moms and dads, or stuck with it and are in and out of jail - either way, I know far fewer people today who might ask me to cook them a batch of something!

  6. I'm sure that he had no intent to violate the law. That's what counts, right?

  7. I run the chem labs at a community college. I probably get approached once a year from someone who wants to borrow the lab for a personal project. Don't worry, I am always assured it is perfectly legal, lol..yeah right. These "someones" are never one of our students, but I encourage them to become a student and run their "personal project" as an honors project. (no takers yet)

  8. The unnamed student should watch the music video "Smuggler's Blues". There can be serious consequences when drug dealers are cheated.

  9. Then there's this gem:

    "Huh, maybe I'll just buy a kg of a staggeringly obvious s.m. with NIH grant money; I'm sure no-one will notice..."

  10. From what I can gather, this student was caught by a package en route to his address being intercepted. From there he managed to inform the police of the entire network, including details of his accomplices, his role in the operation, and the compensation they had organized for him. Sounds like a total moron, not even considering his choice to engage in these activities or accept drugs being posted to his address.