Ever ask yourself “How is Cocaine made?” Its the most prevalent drug after marijuana, yet few people understand where it comes from. As a Miami criminal defense attorney, I represent people accused of a variety of cocaine crimes ranging from possession of cocaine to trafficking cocaine.
It is widely known that cocaine comes from the coca plant which is native to South America. Tropical plant grows many leaves that are similar in appearance to ficus plant leaves. To make one kilo of cocaine, coca farmers need to harvest 1000 kilos of coca leaves. Once the plant is harvested, the leaves are removed and spread out under the sun. Allowing the leaves to bake in the sun for about a half to a full day causes them to dry out somewhat. This is where how cocaine is made gets interesting.
Once the leaves are sufficiently dried, they are spread out on a tarp and minced up with a weed-whacker. After the leaves have been minced, a small amount of cement powder is sprinkled over them. Then, a mixture of ammonia and lime is mixed into the leaves.
Once the ammonia and lime have been applied, diesel gasoline is sprayed over the mixture with a watering can. While these steps are being applied, workers are constantly agitating the mixture to make sure the chemicals and the cement powder are being applied evenly to the minced leaves.
Once the minced leaves have been agitated, they are then put inside a large plastic drum where even more diesel gasoline is poured in. This time, the gasoline is not sprinkled on, but rather poured in very liberally.
The mixture is agitated with a stick for a while and is left to soak. As the mixture soaks, the diesel gasoline causes the cocaine to extract from the coca leaves. After a few hours of soaking, the gasoline/cocaine solution is then drained from the container. The remaining coca leaves are discarded since their usable amounts of cocaine have already been extracted.
Once the gasoline/cocaine liquid has been drained, ammonia is added to separate the cocaine from the diesel gasoline. You may be getting grossed out at this point as you learn the reality of how cocaine is made.
As soon as the ammonia is added, once can see the cocaine separate out instantaneously. During this process, the solution changes from a light green to an opaque, milky white. More diesel gasoline is then added to cause the cocaine that was in the mixture to collect. While the additional diesel gasoline is added, another worker continues to agitate the liquid with a stick or other stirring device.
Next, a solution containing 1 teaspoon of sulfuric acid for every 1 liter of water is added to the gasoline/cocaine liquid and a toilet plunger is used to agitate the new solution. More ammonia is then added to cause the cocaine to bind up into a paste.
The remaining solution is then strained into a container covered by a rag or cloth to separate out the chunks of cocaine paste from the remaining gasoline.
Sodium permanganate is then added to remove left over impurities. This chemical is interesting because it has a bright purple in color similar to diluted beet juice or a purple highlighter. Caustic soda is then added and the cocaine mixture is stirred and filtered until a purified paste remains.