Agilent Uncovers Organized Criminal Activity

A while ago, I wrote about how Agilent’s forensic tools are used in criminal investigations.  Here is an amazing story of how Agilent helped to uncover organized criminal activity in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Forensic Science International (Forensic Sci.Int.180:10-16) recounts a situation several years ago in Bangladesh, the eighth-most populated country and one of the most densely populated in the world.  On a daily basis, people were being admitted to a Dhaka metropolitan hospital after being found unconscious on buses and other public transports.

The passengers had a pattern of shared experiences.  First, despite having no overall memory of what occurred, they recalled taking public transportation.  Second, they recalled buying or accepting food, drink or herbal medicine.  Third, they discovered the loss of personal property after regaining consciousness.

Authorities analyzed urine samples using an Agilent TOF LC/MS system and Agilent Mass Hunter software.  The majority of samples tested positive for benzodiazepines, drugs often used as sedatives or tranquilizers.  Self-abuse by the passengers was ruled out for religious and economic reasons.

The authorities were able to ascertain that these people were the victims of organized criminal activity.  Thieves had been rendering passengers unconscious and robbing them.  Even worse, they had been going undetected for years!

As a result of the research work, recommendations included changing hospital diagnostics procedures, increasing law enforcement on public transport, and investigating the illegal drug trade in Bangladesh and other developing countries.

Agilent solutions are used in criminalistics, DNA testing, doping control, forensic toxicology and forensics sample preparation.

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