What’s In Your Wallet? Probably Cocaine!

by JS 

wallet You know how you always feel a little uneasy going through airport security, even though you know you didn’t do anything and there isn’t really any possible why that you could be guilty of any of the myriad of crimes they are attempting to detect?

Well, not so fast…your wallet may just contain enough coke to get those specially trained dogs to turn their noses in your direction and give their handlers the magic wink that lands you in the slammer!

Up To 80% of All US Bills Contain Trace Amounts of Cocaine


In one 1985 study done by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the money machines in a U.S. Federal Reserve district bank, random samples of $50 and $100 bills revealed that a third to a half of all the currency tested bore traces of cocaine. Moreover, the machines themselves were often found to test positive, meaning that subsequent batches of cash fed through them would also pick up cocaine residue. Expert evidence given before a federal appeals court in 1995 showed that three out of four bills randomly examined in the Los Angeles area bore traces of the drug.

In a 1997 study conducted at the Argonne National Laboratory, nearly four out of five one-dollar bills in Chicago suburbs were found to bear discernable traces of cocaine. In another study, more than 135 bills from seven U.S. cities were tested, and all but four were contaminated with traces of cocaine. These bills had been collected from restaurants, stores, and banks in cities from Milwaukee to Dallas.

Causing Problems for Law Enforcement

As you may also have guessed, the coke-laced bills can cause problems for law enforcement officials. From

The problem is that cocaine sticks to cash whenever money is handled by drug dealers and users. And studies show that cocaine is in such wide use nationally that a sizable percentage of paper money bears traces of it — a finding that courts are starting to cite in ruling against prosecutors.

Within the past 18 months, two federal appeal courts have strongly questioned the government’s reliance on cocaine-tainted cash. And in a ruling in April, a federal trial judge said the mere presence of such cocaine traces doesn’t give officials the necessary “probable cause” to launch an extensive search to confiscate the cash.

Nancy Hollander, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said, “We’re going to see more and more lawyers using these rulings in arguments to suppress evidence by challenging the validity of dog sniffs [detecting cocaine] and confiscation of cash.”

The problem isn’t really that so many bills are actually used by people snorting coke. Modern bank machines and money sorters use forced air to separate the bills. Therefore one tainted bill can easily contaminate an entire batch. The more the bills circulate the greater the chance that they will come in contact with second-hand coke and be contaminated.

I guess this phenomenon brings a whole new meaning to the term money laundering! Maybe leaving a few bills in your jeans when they go through the wash isn’t such a bad idea after all.

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8 Responses to “What’s In Your Wallet? Probably Cocaine!”

  1. fathersez on March 8th, 2008 7:58 am

    I read this a while ago in the book, ‘The Laundrymen”. The point the author was making was that the amount of cash involved in the drug trade (at the street level) was so huge.

    Hence the statistics you quote.

    I think the book also speculated/mentioned about the US Government planning to recall all the present currency and exchanging it for a new currency, and thus, give the big time drug kings a terrible financial blow.

  2. kentuckyliz on March 20th, 2008 4:31 am

    You can use a black light to detect white powder on bills (or a face). It will detect white powder, which could be cocaine or chopped up pills. Don’t ask me how I know this. LOL

  3. July Bucks on April 23rd, 2008 5:25 am

    The statistics you quote is very surprising… Money laundering vision risks to change considerably =)

  4. zambo on January 28th, 2009 4:29 am

    As we go digital; “paper” money will soon be a relic of the past. Yeech.

  5. Trevor @ Financial Nut on March 18th, 2009 6:49 pm

    Wow… that is so crazy! Seriously?!

  6. Ryan @ IQ test on January 19th, 2010 4:10 pm

    Sadly the bills in my wallet probably contain more than trace amounts. Only kidding. This is why I don’t carry cash. Cards only from this point on.

  7. faded on July 17th, 2010 11:52 pm

    foo i jus wanna know that if your going to airport secury and you got like a lil sack of coke if you can get caught or not…im thinking the airport is way to bussy worrying about other stuff then a small 20…

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