A secondary electrospray ionization (SESI) method was developed as a nonradioactive ionization source for ion mobility spectrometry (IMS). This SESI method relied on the gas-phase interaction between charged particles created by electrospray ionization (ESI) and neutral gaseous sample molecules. Mass spectrometry (MS) was used as the detection method after ion mobility separation for ion identification. Preliminary investigations focussed on understanding the ionization process of SESI. The performance of ESI-IMS and SESI-IMS for illicit drug detection was evaluated by determining the analytical figures of merit. In general, SESI had a higher ionization efficiency for small volatile molecules compared with the electrospray method. The potential of developing a universal interface for both GC- and LC-MS with an addition stage of mobility separation was demonstrated.