WaPo: Pollen ‘nerds’: U.S. government enlists scientists to track drug loads, crack cold cases by Nick Miroff:
In a small, obscure government laboratory here, two self-described ‘nerds’ are doing microscopic detective work, trying to determine the origins of the major narcotics shipments that U.S. agents intercept at the border. Andrew Laurence, 33, and Shannon Ferguson, 32, are forensic palynologists who specialize in the identification of pollen grains. They can extract the particles from almost anything — drug packages, clothing, the air filters of impounded vehicles — and use that information to determine where an item might have traveled. Pollen grains stick to objects in abundance, and the precise combination of those particles creates what forensic palynologists call a ‘signal,’ not unlike a fingerprint.
Query then: Does a drug search warrant have to include that detailed forensic examination is being sought akin to taking DNA trace evidence?