Dr. Marie Morelato completed her Bachelor and Master degree in Forensic Science at the School of Criminal Justice of the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2009. After completing her studies, she worked in the Wallis State Police (Switzerland) as a forensic scientist before moving to Australia to complete a one-year project on Gunshot residues at the UTS Centre for Forensic Science (CFS) in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
In 2015, she completed her PhD on drug intelligence at UTS. The project was a collaboration between the AFP, the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and UTS. In 2016, she obtained a prestigious Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from UTS. Her research involves the use of illicit drug data in an intelligence perspective. The repetitive and evolving nature of drug trafficking requires the triangulation of data from different sources to objectively understand its complexity. As a consequence, her research involves the triangulation of data coming from projects that look at the illicit drug problem through different angles: cryptomarkets, illicit drug seizures, illicit drug in wastewater, data from governmental sources. Marie is interested in other areas dealing with organised systems (e.g. organised crime, security) for which this approach can be adapted and implemented.
Can supervise: YES
Michelot, H, Chadwick, S, Morelato, M, Tahtouh, M & Roux, C 2020, 'The screening of identity documents at borders for forensic drug intelligence purpose', Forensic Chemistry, vol. 18.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2020 Elsevier B.V. The need for law enforcement agencies to obtain results more rapidly has driven the increased use of field-deployable technology in the field. Currently used in a case-by-case approach, the potential of these new technologies, could go beyond the traditional objective of forensic science (i.e. characterisation and identification) and provide timely information about criminal phenomena (i.e. multi-case approach). The use of portable instrumentation could for instance provide rapid information to law enforcement agencies about drug prevalence and drug smuggling if used in a systematic manner. This paper outlines the potential of using portable instrumentation to gather information related to illicit drugs rapidly. An innovative concept is proposed to screen surfaces of passports for the detection of remnants of illicit substances using rapid equipment already deployed at border controls. An experimental procedure was built to determine if powdered drugs could be detected on the surface of contaminated passports. Various scenarios were tested, including transfer, activity and persistence parameters. Experiments were conducted employing two different instruments, i.e. Ion Mobility spectroscopy (IMS) and Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation coupled to an Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer (APCI-ITMS). Promising results were obtained with the proposed method notably with the APCI-ITMS instrument as drugs were detected in minute amounts even after one hour of activity. High rates of false positives were obtained with the IMS contrary to APCI-ITMS. As a result, APCI-ITMS allows for the detection of remnants of illicit substances on passports' surfaces and the approach employed in this proof of concept can be deployed in a real environment such as in airports.
Baechler, S, Morelato, M, Gittelson, S, Walsh, S, Margot, P, Roux, C & Ribaux, O 2020, 'Breaking the barriers between intelligence, investigation and evaluation: A continuous approach to de fine the contribution and scope of forensic science', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, vol. 309.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Lefrancois, E, Belackova, V, Silins, E, Latimer, J, Jauncey, M, Shimmon, R, Bordin, DM, Augsburger, M, Esseiva, P, Roux, C & Morelato, M 2020, 'Substances injected at the Sydney supervised injecting facility: A chemical analysis of used injecting equipment and comparison with self-reported drug type', DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, vol. 209.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Morelato, M, Medeiros Bozic, S, Rhumorbarbe, D, Broséus, J, Staehli, L, Esseiva, P, Roux, C & Rossy, Q 2020, 'An insight Into Prescription Drugs and Medicine on the AlphaBay Cryptomarket', Journal of Drug Issues, pp. 002204261987295-002204261987295.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Internet access has provided new ways to trade goods. Unlike conventional legal sale sites, cryptomarkets facilitate exchanges in a context where the anonymity of participants is warranted. The aim of this article was to obtain a better understanding of the trafficking of prescription drugs and medicine on the AlphaBay cryptomarket. The results showed that alprazolam, oxycodone, and Adderall were the most offered prescription drugs while alprazolam, diazepam, and oxycodone were the most sold substances. The sale was dominated by North America, Australia, and Western European countries. The revenue of prescription drugs was estimated to be more than US$65 million since the creation of AlphaBay, a small market in comparison with the worldwide legal pharmaceutical market's estimate of US$1.3 trillion in 2020. Digital traces offer a complementary way to understand the trafficking of prescription drugs and medicine and to identify the most prolific vendors and their implication in this trafficking.
Morelato, M, Franscella, D, Esseiva, P & Broséus, J 2019, 'When does the cutting of cocaine and heroin occur? The first large-scale study based on the chemical analysis of cocaine and heroin seizures in Switzerland.', The International journal on drug policy, vol. 73, pp. 7-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Illicit drug profiling can provide knowledge about illicit drug markets, informing on the level of distribution and its evolution in space and time. Illicit drug profiling is usually limited to impurities originally present in the illicit drug (e.g. alkaloids, co-extracted compounds or by-products). However, the benefit of a comprehensive analysis of cutting agents in drug seizures for law enforcement agencies, intelligence and health policy has not been thoroughly investigated in the literature and is the focus of this research. AIM:This research aims at assessing when and how cutting (i.e. adulteration and dilution) occurs in the supply chain by analysing cocaine and heroin seizures made between 2006 and 2015 in Switzerland. METHODS:Cocaine and heroin seizures made along the supply chain by law enforcement agencies in the Western region of Switzerland were investigated for adulteration and dilution. A total number of 7841 cocaine and 3476 heroin specimens coming from 1341 and 721 seizures, respectively, were analysed. RESULTS:The results show that, for both illicit drugs, adulteration and/or dilution occur before arrival into Switzerland as well as in Switzerland. While cocaine is adulterated and diluted, heroin is only adulterated. Interestingly, the same mixture of adulterants (i.e. caffeine-paracetamol) is used to cut heroin at each step in the supply chain. CONCLUSION:Gaining knowledge about adulteration and dilution at different stages in the supply chain enhances our understanding of drug markets. It also highlights differences along the supply chain and in the distribution of both drugs in Switzerland.
Bannwarth, A, Morelato, M, Benaglia, L, Been, F, Esseiva, P, Delemont, O & Roux, C 2019, 'The use of wastewater analysis in forensic intelligence: drug consumption comparison between Sydney and different European cities', Forensic Sciences Research, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 141-151.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Popovic, A, Morelato, M, Roux, C & Beavis, A 2019, 'Review of the most common chemometric techniques in illicit drug profiling.', Forensic science international, vol. 302.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The information generated through drug profiling can be used to infer a common source between one or several seizures as well as drug trafficking routes to provide insights into drug markets. Although well established, it is time-consuming and ineffective to compare all drug profiles manually. In recent years, there has been a push to automate processes to enable a more efficient comparison of illicit drug specimens. Various chemometric methods have been employed to compare and interpret forensic case data promptly. The intelligence that is produced can be used by decision-makers to disrupt or reduce the impact of illicit drug markets. This review highlights the most common chemometric techniques used in drug profiling and more specifically, the most efficient comparison metrics and pattern recognition techniques outlined in the literature.
Rhumorbarbe, D, Morelato, M, Staehli, L, Roux, C, Jaquet-Chiffelle, D-O, Rossy, Q & Esseiva, P 2019, 'Monitoring new psychoactive substances: Exploring the contribution of an online discussion forum.', The International journal on drug policy, vol. 73, pp. 273-280.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:The rapid emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) is a challenge for public health authorities and law enforcement. The phenomenon is strengthened since the increase of the Internet usage. Not only used to trade NPS, the Web is an important source of information for both potential drug consumers and experienced users. Discussion forums are among these sources of information. They are meeting points for different groups of users and include a wide range of trip reports, questions and consumption tips. Since the discussions are archived over a long period, they can be used to monitor the interest of consumers for particular substances over time. This research aims at understanding the contribution of data extracted from a major online discussion forum within a systematic monitoring process. METHOD:Data were collected from a discussion forum (i.e. Drugs-forum). Within the sections of the forum, the titles, content of discussion, number of replies, and the date of the first discussion were crawled and stored in a dedicated database. The intensity of the discussions related to 42 substances considered as NPS was measured through an indicator allowing to assess the popularity of substances. Furthermore, the appearance of 15 substances on the forum was compared to the date of formal notification to the EU early warning system. RESULTS:An evolution of the different classes of substances, as well as an evolution of specific substances within a class were highlighted. Some substances were discussed for a long period of time (e.g. Kratom, 25i-NBOMe, MDPV) while others were discussed very briefly (e.g. 5-MeO-DPT, NM-2AI). Out of the fifteen substances subjected to a risk assessment from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), nine of them appeared on the forum before or at the same time as their first date of notification to the EU early warning system. CONCLUSION:In line with previous research on doping products, this article ...
Been, F, O'Brien, J, Lai, FY, Morelato, M, Vallely, P, McGowan, J, van Nuijs, ALN, Covaci, A & Mueller, JF 2018, 'Analysis of N,N-dimethylamphetamine in wastewater - a pyrolysis marker and synthesis impurity of methamphetamine.', Drug testing and analysis, vol. 10, no. 10, pp. 1590-1598.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The increased availability of high purity crystalline methamphetamine (MA) in Australia raised concerns because of high dosages and its potential consumption through inhalation. The present work investigates the possibility of using wastewater levels of N,N-dimethylamphetamine (DMA), a pyrolysis by-product, as an indirect indicator of MA smoking. A dedicated liquid chromatography quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS) method was set up to detect and quantify DMA in wastewater samples. Wastewater samples were collected from 8 locations across Australia during the period 2011-2016. Data about the abundance of DMA in MA seizures as well as in residues from drug paraphernalia were obtained from forensic laboratories in Australia. DMA/MA ratios measured in wastewater ranged from 0.0001 to 0.09 (median 0.007). DMA/MA ratios in bulk seizures are generally below 0.0025, with a median value of 0.0004, whilst residues in paraphernalia ranged from 0.031 to 3.37. DMA/MA ratios in wastewater decreased between 2011 and 2016, in parallel to an increase in MA loads. Furthermore, wastewater analyses highlighted a strong positive correlation between DMA/MA ratios and per capita MA use (Pearson's correlation ρ= 0.61, p-value <0.001). Nonetheless, geographical specificities could be highlighted between the investigated locations. The obtained data could help authorities detect hot spots of drug use as well as to plan specific intervention campaigns to tackle the issue. In future, simultaneous analysis of DMA and MA in both wastewater and seizures could improve our understanding about MA use and its consumption patterns.
Agius, A, Morelato, M, Moret, S, Chadwick, S, Jones, K, Epple, R, Brown, J & Roux, C 2018, 'Dataset of coded handwriting features for use in statistical modelling.', Data in brief, vol. 16, pp. 1010-1024.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The data presented here is related to the article titled, "Using handwriting to infer a writer's country of origin for forensic intelligence purposes" (Agius et al., 2017) . This article reports original writer, spatial and construction characteristic data for thirty-seven English Australian writers and thirty-seven Vietnamese writers. All of these characteristics were coded and recorded in Microsoft Excel 2013 (version 15.31). The construction characteristics coded were only extracted from seven characters, which were: 'g', 'h', 'th', 'M', '0', '7' and '9'. The coded format of the writer, spatial and construction characteristics is made available in this Data in Brief in order to allow others to perform statistical analyses and modelling to investigate whether there is a relationship between the handwriting features and the nationality of the writer, and whether the two nationalities can be differentiated. Furthermore, to employ mathematical techniques that are capable of characterising the extracted features from each participant.
Agius, A, Morelato, M, Moret, S, Chadwick, S, Jones, K, Epple, R, Brown, J & Roux, C 2018, 'Using handwriting to infer a writer's country of origin for forensic intelligence purposes.', Forensic Science International, vol. 282, pp. 144-156.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Forensic science has traditionally focused the majority of its resources and objectives towards addressing Court-related questions. However, this view restricts the contribution of forensic science to one process and results in a loss of information as the investigative and intelligence roles are largely neglected. A forensic science discipline suffering from this imbalance is handwriting examination, which may be characterised as a time consuming and subjective process that is mostly carried out towards the end of the investigation for the purpose of judicial proceedings. Individual and habitual characteristics are the major handwriting features exploited, however alternate information concerning the author's native language could potentially be used as a key element in an intelligence framework. This research focussed on the detection of characteristics that differentiate Vietnamese and English Australian writers based on their English handwriting. The study began with the extraction of handwriting characteristics from the writing of people from the two populations. The data was analysed using a logistic regression model and a classification and regression tree (CRT). Each recognised four class characteristics that were capable of distinguishing between the two nationalities. The logistic regression and CRT models were both capable of correctly predicting 93% of cases. Their predictive capabilities were then tested and supported using blind exemplars in order to mirror casework settings. It appeared that when using their respective class characteristics, the two models were capable of differentiating English Australians from Vietnamese in the data set. This proof of concept research demonstrated the plausibility of exploiting this additional information from a handwriting trace and taking advantage of it in an intelligence-led framework.
Morelato, M, Broséus, J, De Grazia, A, Tahtouh, M, Esseiva, P & Roux, C 2018, 'Forensic drug intelligence and the rise of cryptomarkets. Part II: Combination of data from the physical and virtual markets.', Forensic science international, vol. 288, pp. 201-210.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Technology provides new ways to access customers and suppliers while enhancing the security of off-line criminal activity. Since the first cryptomarket, Silk Road, in 2011, cryptomarkets have transformed the traditional drug sale by facilitating the creation of a global network of vendors and buyers. Due to the fragmented nature of traces that result from illegal activities, combining the results of concurrent processes based on traces of different nature should provide supplementary benefit to understand the drug market. This article compares the data of the Australian virtual market (in particular data extracted from cryptomarkets) to the data related to traditional market descriptors, namely national seizures and arrests, prevalence data, shipping countries of seized post shipments as well as outcomes of specific surveys targeting users' behaviour online. Results revealed the domestic nature of the online illicit drug trade in Australia which is dominated by amphetamine-type substances (ATS), in particular methylamphetamine and cannabis. These illicit drugs were also the most seized drugs on the physical market. This article shows that the combination of different information offers a broader perspective of the illicit drug market in Australia and thus provides stronger arguments for policy makers. It also highlights the links between the virtual and physical markets.
Broséus, J, Rhumorbarbe, D, Morelato, M, Staehli, L & Rossy, Q 2017, 'A geographical analysis of trafficking on a popular darknet market.', Forensic Science International, vol. 277, pp. 88-102.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Cryptomarkets are online marketplaces, located on the darknet, that facilitate the trading of a variety of illegal goods, mostly drugs. While the literature essentially focus on drugs, various other goods and products related to financial or identity fraud, firearms, counterfeit goods, as well as doping products are also offered on these marketplaces. Through the analysis of relevant data collected on a popular marketplace in 2014-2015, Evolution, this research provides an analysis of the structure of trafficking (types and proportions of products, number of vendors and shipping countries). It also aims at highlighting geographical patterns in the trafficking of these products (e.g. trafficking flows, specialisation of vendors and assessment of their role in the distribution chain). The analysis of the flow of goods between countries emphasises the role of specific countries in the international and domestic trafficking, potentially informing law enforcement agencies to target domestic mails or international posts from specific countries. The research also highlights the large proportion of licit and illicit drug listings and vendors on Evolution, followed by various fraud issues (in particular, financial fraud), the sharing of knowledge (tutorials) and finally goods, currencies and precious metals (principally luxury goods). Looking at the shipping country, there seems to be a clear division between digital and physical products, with more specific information for physical goods. This reveals that the spatial analysis of trafficking is particularly meaningful in the case of physical products (such as illicit drugs) and to a lesser extent for digital products. Finally, the geographical analysis reveals that spatial patterns on Evolution tend to reflect the structure of the traditional illicit market. However, regarding illicit drugs, country-specificity has been observed and are presented in this article.
Agius, A, Jones, K, Epple, R, Morelato, M, Moret, S, Chadwick, S & Roux, C 2017, 'The use of handwriting examinations beyond the traditional court purpose', Science and Justice, vol. 57, no. 5, pp. 394-400.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Traditionally, forensic science has predominantly focused its resources and objectives on addressing court related questions. However, this view restricts the contribution of forensic science to one function and results in lost opportunities as investigative and intelligence roles are often overlooked.
A change of perspective and expansion of the contributions of forensic science is required to take advantage of the benefits of abductive and inductive thought processes throughout the investigative and intelligence functions. One forensic discipline that has the potential to broaden its traditional focus is handwriting examination. Typically used in investigations that are focused on both criminal and civil cases, the examination procedure and outcome are time consuming and subjective, requiring a detailed study of the features of the handwriting in question. Traditionally, the major handwriting features exploited are characteristics that are often considered individual (or at least highly polymorphic) and habitual. However, handwriting can be considered as an information vector in an intelligence framework. One such example is the recognition of key elements related to the author's native language. This paper discusses the traditional method generally used around the world and proposes a theoretical approach to expand the application of handwriting examination towards gaining additional information for intelligence purposes. This concept will be designed and tested in a future research project.
Morelato, M, Barash, M, Blanes, L, Chadwick, S, Dilag, J, Kuzhiumparambil, U, Nizio, KD, Spindler, X & Moret, S 2017, 'Forensic Science: Current State and Perspective by a Group of Early Career Researchers', Foundations of Science, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 799-825.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Forensic science and its influence on policing and the criminal justice system have increased since the beginning of the twentieth century. While the philosophies of the forensic science pioneers remain the pillar of modern practice, rapid advances in technology and the underpinning sciences have seen an explosion in the number of disciplines and tools. Consequently, the way in which we exploit and interpret the remnant of criminal activity are adapting to this changing environment. In order to best exploit the trace, an interdisciplinary approach to both research and investigation is required. In this paper, nine postdoctoral research fellows from a multidisciplinary team discuss their vision for the future of forensic science at the crime scene, in the laboratory and beyond. This paper does not pretend to be exhaustive of all fields of forensic science, but describes a portion of the postdoctoral fellows' interests and skills.
Broséus, J, Morelato, M, Tahtouh, M & Roux, C 2017, 'Forensic drug intelligence and the rise of cryptomarkets. Part I: Studying the Australian virtual market.', Forensic Science International, vol. 279, pp. 288-301.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Analysing and understanding cryptomarkets is essential to become proactive in the fight against the illicit drug trade. Such a research seeks to combine a diversity of indicators related to the virtual (darknet markets) and physical (the traditional "offline" market) aspects of the illicit drug trade to provide information on the distribution and consumption as well as to assess similarities/differences between the virtual and physical markets. This study analysed data that had previously been collected on cryptomarkets from December 2013 to March 2015. In this article, the data was extracted from two marketplaces, Evolution and Silk Road 2, and analysed to evaluate the illicit drug trade of the Australian virtual market (e.g. information about the supply and demand, trafficking flows, prices of illicit drugs and market share) and highlight its specificities. The results revealed the domestic nature of the virtual Australian illicit drug trade (i.e. Australian sellers essentially ship their products to local customers). This may explain the coherence between supply and demand. Particularly, the virtual Australian illicit drug trade is dominated by amphetamine-type substances (ATS), mainly methamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and cannabis. Australia, as a shipping country, accounts for half of the methamphetamine offered and purchased on Silk Road 2. Moreover, it was observed that the online price fixed by Australian sellers for the considered illicit drugs is higher than for any other shipping countries, which is in line with previous studies. Understanding the virtual and physical drug market necessitates the integration and fusion of different perspectives to capture the dynamic nature of drug trafficking, monitor its evolution and finally improve our understanding of the phenomenon so policy makers can make informed decisions.
Bruenisholz, E, Prakash, S, Ross, A, Morelato, M, O'Malley, T, Raymond, T, Ribaux, O, Roux, CP & Walsh, S 2016, 'The intelligent use of forensic data: an introduction to the principles', Forensic Science Policy & Management: An International Journal, vol. 7, no. 1-2, pp. 21-29.View/Download from: Publisher's site
For the past decade, the National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) has been involved in and committed to raising the awareness of forensic intelligence in Australia. In this context, a discussion paper was written and distributed across Australia and New Zealand covering forensic intelligence principles and offering a 'quick reference' guide. In addition, NIFS jointly facilitated a set of papers on forensic intelligence that was published in the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences.
The implementation of forensic intelligence requires substantial planning and adaptation within an organization. There must be commitment within an agency to refocus outcomes so that crime prevention and disruption become priorities along with the traditional focus on the court. This implies many changes including a shift from a single case focus to a multi-case focus and a breaking down of existing interdisciplinary silos. At a time of budget restrictions, the resources to implement these changes are often difficult to identify. However, established intelligence cells within forensic science facilities are realizing the benefits to be gained from this approach.
The primary aim of this paper is to raise awareness on the principles and practice of forensic intelligence through the collation and integration of recently published findings and observations. It is intended to provide introductory principles to personnel of various levels and disciplines involved in law enforcement, including forensic scientists, police officers, and those involved in administering the criminal justice system.
Talbot-Wright, B, Baechler, S, Morelato, M, Ribaux, O & Roux, C 2016, 'Image processing of false identity documents for forensic intelligence', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, vol. 263, pp. 67-73.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Baechler, S, Morelato, M, Ribaux, O, Beavis, A, Tahtouh, M, Kirkbride, KP, Esseiva, P, Margot, P & Roux, C 2015, 'Forensic intelligence framework. Part II: Study of the main generic building blocks and challenges through the examples of illicit drugs and false identity documents monitoring', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, vol. 250, pp. 44-52.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Morelato, M, Beavis, A, Tahtouh, M, Ribaux, O, Kirkbride, KP & Roux, C 2015, 'The use of methylamphetamine chemical profiling in an intelligence-led perspective and the observation of inhomogeneity within seizures', Forensic Science International, vol. 246, pp. 55-64.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This study focuses on methylamphetamine (MA) seizures made by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to investigate the use of chemical profiling in an intelligence perspective. Correlation coefficients were used to obtain a similarity degree between a population of linked samples and a population of unlinked samples. Although it was demonstrated that a general framework can be followed for the use of any forensic case data in an intelligence-led perspective, threshold values have to be re-evaluated for each type of illicit drug investigated. Unlike the results obtained in a previous study on 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA) seizures, chemical profiles of MA samples coming from the same seizure showed relative inhomogeneity, limiting their ability to link seizures. Different hypotheses were investigated to obtain a better understanding of this inhomogeneity although no trend was observed. These findings raise an interesting discussion in regards to the homogeneity and representativeness of illicit drug seizures (for intelligence purposes). Further, it also provides some grounds to discuss the initial hypotheses and assumptions that most forensic science studies are based on.
Morelato, M, Baechler, S, Ribaux, O, Beavis, AB, Tahtouh, M, Kirkbride, KP, Roux, CP & Margot, P 2014, 'Forensic intelligence framework--Part I: Induction of a transversal model by comparing illicit drugs', Forensic Science International, vol. 236, pp. 181-190.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Forensic intelligence is a distinct dimension of forensic science. Forensic intelligence processes have mostly been developed to address either a specific type of trace or a specific problem. Even though these empirical developments have led to successes, they are trace-specific in nature and contribute to the generation of silos which hamper the establishment of a more general and transversal model. Forensic intelligence has shown some important perspectives but more general developments are required to address persistent challenges. This will ensure the progress of the discipline as well as its widespread implementation in the future. This paper demonstrates that the description of forensic intelligence processes, their architectures, and the methods for building them can, at a certain level, be abstracted from the type of traces considered. A comparative analysis is made between two forensic intelligence approaches developed independently in Australia and in Europe regarding the monitoring of apparently very different kind of problems: illicit drugs and false identity documents. An inductive effort is pursued to identify similarities and to outline a general model. Besides breaking barriers between apparently separate fields of study in forensic science and intelligence, this transversal model would assist in defining forensic intelligence, its role and place in policing, and in identifying its contributions and limitations. The model will facilitate the paradigm shift from the current case-by-case reactive attitude towards a proactive approach by serving as a guideline for the use of forensic case data in an intelligence-led perspective. A follow-up article will specifically address issues related to comparison processes, decision points and organisational issues regarding forensic intelligence (part II).
Morelato, M, Beavis, AB, Tahtouh, M, Ribaux, O, Kirkbride, KP & Roux, CP 2014, 'The use of organic and inorganic impurities found in MDMA police seizures in a drug intelligence perspective', Science & Justice, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 32-41.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Traditional forensic drug profiling involves numerous analytical techniques, and the whole process is typically costly and may be time consuming. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of prioritising techniques utilised at the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for the chemical profiling of 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA). The outcome would provide the AFP with the ability to obtain more timely and valuable results that could be used in an intelligence perspective. Correlation coefficients were used to obtain a similarity degree between a population of linked samples (within seizures) and a population of unlinked samples (between different seizures) and discrimination between the two populations was ultimately achieved. The results showed that gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GCMS) was well suited as a single technique to detect links between seizures and could be used in priority for operational intelligence purposes. Furthermore, the method was applied to seizures known or suspected (through their case information) to be linked to each other to assess the chemical similarity between samples. It was found that half of the seizures previously linked by the case number were also linked by the chemical profile. This procedure was also able to highlight links between cases that were previously unsuspected and retrospectively confirmed by circumstantial information. The findings are finally discussed in the broader forensic intelligence context, with a focus on how they could be successfully incorporated into investigations and in an intelligence-led policing perspective in order to understand trafficking markets.
Morelato, M, Beavis, AB, Kirkbride, KP & Roux, CP 2013, 'Forensic applications of desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (DESI-MS)', Forensic Science International, vol. 226, no. 1-3, pp. 10-21.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) is an emerging analytical technique that enables in situ mass spectrometric analysis of specimens under ambient conditions. It has been successfully applied to a large range of forensically relevant materials. This review assesses and highlights forensic applications of DESI-MS including the analysis and detection of illicit drugs, explosives, chemical warfare agents, inks and documents, fingermarks, gunshot residues and drugs of abuse in urine and plasma specimens. The minimal specimen preparation required for analysis and the sensitivity of detection achieved offer great advantages, especially in the field of forensic science.
Morelato, M, Beavis, AB, Tahtouh, M, Ribaux, O, Kirkbride, KP & Roux, CP 2013, 'The use of forensic case data in intelligence-led policing: The example of drug profiling', Forensic Science International, vol. 226, no. 1-3, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: Publisher's site
To date, forensic science has predominantly focused on generating evidence for judicial proceedings. While many recognise its broader and important contribution to the initial stages of the forensic process, resources do not seem to be employed efficiently. It is often discovered retrospectively that necessary information was previously available in a database or within existing files. Such information could have been proactively used in order to solve a particular case, a number of linked cases or better understand the criminal activity as a whole. This article reviews this broader contribution of forensic science, with a particular emphasis on drug intelligence at the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Australia. Using the AFP as a model organisation, an overview of the current situation and the contribution of physical and chemical profiling are first discussed. The situation in Europe, and in particular in Switzerland, is also presented. It is argued that a change of attitude towards a more intelligence-led perspective is required in forensic science in general, and in drug profiling in particular.
Morelato, M, Beavis, AB, Ogle, A, Doble, PA, Kirkbride, KP & Roux, CP 2012, 'Screening of gunshot residues using desorption electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (DESI-MS)', Forensic Science International, vol. 217, no. 1-3, pp. 101-106.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Several studies have indicated that there are potential environmental sources of particles resembling inorganic primer found in gunshot residues (GSR); as a consequence examiners are reluctant to unambiguously assign the origin of inorganic particles. If organic gunshot residues (OGSR) were found in combination with inorganic particles, the possibility of environmental sources could be potentially eliminated, thereby significantly enhancing the strength of the evidence. Methods have been previously described whereby GSR specimens can be analysed for the presence of OGSR or inorganic GRS (IGSR). However, no methods have been reported that allow the analysis of both OGSR and IGSR on the same specimen. Described in this article is a direct method using desorption electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) for the detection of methyl centralite (MC), ethyl centralite (EC) and diphenylamine (DPA) on adhesive tape GSR stubs typically used for scanning electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) analysis. The optimisation of numerous parameters was conducted using an experimental design. The results indicate that direct analysis of these organic components of GSR is possible although some limitations were also identified. This initial investigation has also indicated that subjecting stubs to DESI analysis does not interfere with subsequent SEM-EDX analysis of primer residues; therefore the technique described herein allows a comprehensive examination of GSR that would be highly probative in the event that both OGSR and IGSR are detected in the same specimen.
Roux, CP, Hales, S, Morelato, M & Olinder, S 2013, 'Plastic Bag Striations' in Siegel, JA & Saukko, PJ (eds), Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences, Academic Press, Waltham, pp. 8-15.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This article presents and reviews the examination of plastic bags in forensic science, and more specifically, the use and value of some of their physical features often known as `plastic bag striations. This is also presented with a view to exploit such information from an intelligence perspective.
Lefrancois, E, Morelato, M, Belackova, V, Silins, E, Latimer, J, Jauncey, M, Augsburger, M, Esseiva, P & Roux, C 2019, 'IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE OF DRUG USAGE THROUGH LABORATORY ANALYSIS OF USED INJECTING PARAPHERNALIA AT THE SYDNEY SUPERVISED INJECTING FACILITY', DRUG AND ALCOHOL REVIEW, WILEY, pp. S64-S65.
Agius, A, Morelato, M, Moret, S, Chadwick, S, Jones, K, Epple, R & Roux, C 2017, 'USING HANDWRITING TO INFER A WRITER'S COUNTRY OF ORIGIN FOR FORENSIC INTELLIGENCE PURPOSES', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 160-160.
Michelot, H, Morelato, M, Chadwick, S, Roux, C & Tahtouh, M 2017, 'CHEMOMETRICS APPLIED TO CHEMICAL PROFILES OF COCAINE SEIZURES: A FORENSIC INTELLIGENCE APPROACH', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 229-230.
Bannwarth, A, Morelato, M, Benaglia, L, Esseiva, P, Del, OM & Roux, C 2017, 'THE ANALYSIS OF ILLICIT DRUGS IN SYDNEY WASTEWATER', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 225-225.
Chadwick, S, de La Hunty, M, Morelato, M, Lam, R & Roux, C 2017, 'FORENSIC SCIENCE EDUCATION - FLAVOUR TO FOUNDATION', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 56-56.
Michelot, H, Morelato, M, Chadwick, S, Roux, C & Tahtouh, M 2017, 'THE ANALYSIS OF CUTTING AGENTS IN AUSTRALIAN SEIZURES OF COCAINE AND HEROIN OVER SIX YEARS', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 227-227.
Michelot, H, Morelato, M, Chadwick, S, Tahtouh, M & Roux, C 2017, 'ION MOBILITY SPECTROMETRY VERSUS ION TRAP TANDEM MASS SPECTROMETRY TO DETECT NARCOTICS ON PASSPORTS', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 227-227.
Morelato, M, Broseus, J, Rhumorbarbe, D, Staehli, L, Roux, C & Rossy, Q 2017, 'A GEOGRAPHICAL ANALYSIS OF TRAFFICKING ON EVOLUTION, A POPULAR DARKNET MARKETPLACE', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 246-246.