Mephedrone Laboratory: Breaking Bad’s Script


From Lublin, the trail led to the Łódź Voivodeship

A trail led the policemen to the Łódź Voivodeship, where they tracked down a drug factory near Sieradz. It was run by a 50 y.o. man with his 43 y.o. partner and a 40 y.o. friend.

During the search, they secured 6 kg of mephedrone and several hundred liters of the substance prepared for crystallization (in Mephedrone Laboratory). All the detainees have already been remanded in custody. They face up to 15 years in prison, according to the police.

The police state that the equipment was on a private property and that’s where CBŚP officers and Lublin counter-terrorists from Lublin, Łódź and BOA entered. All the detainees were brought to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin where they were charged. They will be responsible for the production of significant quantities of narcotic drugs, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The mephedrone laboratory: how was it made?

Brewers admitted that started from 1 kg 4′-Methylpropiophenone in a 10 L reactor; they added hydrobromic acid (HBr 48%) 320 ml and stirred for 5 min; poured hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 35% 212 ml) poured into a drip funnel and installed onto the reactor neck. Drip funnel tap was opened and hydrogen peroxide was added dropwise with a constant stirring to the reactor. The mixture color may be different from yellow to red. Hydrogen peroxide discolored reaction mixture. They kept reaction temperature below 65 °C. In case reaction temperature rise higher, hydrogen peroxide addition was stopped.

Previous steps from hydrobromic acid additions was repeated twice after hydrogen peroxide addition. Crystallization started during the reaction. Hydrobromic acid and hydrogen peroxide was added dropwise until the end of amount and stirred for 1.5-12 h. Next, distilled water was added and stirred for 5 min. A stirring was stopped. Reaction mixture was left in reactor without stirring until entire 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone is fallen down onto the reactor bottom.

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Water was removed with pump through the reactor neck. Sodium/potassium hydroxide 25% (NaOH/KOH) aq. sln was added to the reaction mixture and stirred for 5 min. Distilled water addition addition and 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone precipitation was repeated. The resulting 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone was left in the reactor.

Mephedrone laboratory: from Lublin 4mmc synthesis

According the police exact report, they got detailed synthesis explanation. Ethyl acetate 6 l was placed into the reactor. Reaction mixture was stirred and heated in reactor with jacket up to 30 °C with heating system. The mixture was stirred until complete amount of 2-bromo-4′-methylpropiophenone from previous steps was dissolved.

The stirring was stopped, layers was separated. The bottom layer was drained through a bottom reactor tap. The stirrer is turned on and methylamine 40% aq 2 l was added in one portion.

The mixture was stirred for 20 min, temperature is kept below 65 °C. The stirring was stopped again and layers was separated. A bottom layer was drained. Then, the mixture was heated up to 65 °C and reactor vacuum pump was turned on. The reactor condenser chiller pump was turned on as well. the whole volume of ethyl acetate or its biggest part was distilled off.

Vacuum pump was turned off. Acetone solvent was added to the reactor with a constant stirring. Hydrochloric acid 500 ml was placed into the drip funnel and the funnel was installed onto the reactor neck. Hydrochloric acid was added dropwise to reach pH 5 with a constant stirring. A couple drops of reaction mixture was drained from the bottom reactor tap in order to check pH by pH indicator stripe. Then, the reaction mixture is poured into a bucket and the bucket was put into a freezer for 12 h.

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This method was clearly described in laboratory notepad. Also, there was filtration notes. A vacuum filtration system, which was represented by a nutsche filter, filter cloth and vacuum pump was assembled and installed. The vacuum pump was turned on. The bucket with mephedrone free base content from previouse stage was poured into the nutsche filter.

The solution was filtered and pressed until the funnel content became solid. A cold dry acetone was poured onto the solid product in the filter in several small portions during filtration. Acetone was filtered. Acetone washing was repeated in case the solid mephedrone was not white. White solid mephedrone hydrochloride was placed into a Pyrex dish for air drying. Pyrex dish with product was placed into a dry well ventilated warm area. Mephedrone salt was dried to a constant mass.

Mephedrone laboratory: from Lublin 4mmc synthesis
Mephedrone hydrochloride from this laboratory

That’s not all, because in the attic of the building, an over 20 m tent adapted to the cultivation of marijuana was discovered. It was possible to secure some cannabis from a crop that has not yet entered the market.

Mephedrone laboratory: from Lublin 4mmc synthesis

On the spot, the criminals also secured two units of firearms, several hundred pieces of ammunition, as well as substances and devices for its production. The weapon will be analyzed. Police officers also check whether they had a permit for these weapons and ammunition, the police said.