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CBP in Los Angeles Seizes $40 Million in Meth Chemicals Bound for Mexico

Release Date: 
May 1, 2012

Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) aggressive enforcement posture against Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue bringing record-breaking drugs seizures beyond the land border, at U.S. airports and seaports.

CBP officers at LAX seized two shipments of 80 bags, containing 5,700 pounds of methylamine chloride, a known chemical that is used as a precursor to methamphetamine. If used to make methamphetamine, the street value of this seizure is $40 million.

CBP officers at an air cargo consignment facility of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized two shipments of 80 bags, containing 5,700 pounds of methylamine chloride, a known chemical that is used as a precursor to methamphetamine. If used to make methamphetamine, the street value of this seizure is $40 million.

The shipments arrived from China on April 19 and 23, with a final destination in central Mexico. Samples of the white powdery chemical were positively identified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as methylamine chloride, a List 1 controlled substance.

The shipments arrived from China on April 19 and 23, with a final destination in central Mexico.

"Once again, we take enormous pride in the exceptional caliber of our officers in intercepting these drug precursors from Asia and preventing their reaching the cartels in Mexico," said Todd C. Owen, CBP Director of Field Operations, Los Angeles. "The alertness and attention to duty is vital to the mission of CBP in protecting the homeland from all harm, including that of dangerous drugs."

Methylamine chloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong-odor chemical. In one pathway, it is essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy. Methylamine chloride is a List 1 controlled substance by the DEA with many legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products.

Suppliers of these products are subject to regulations and control measures. The Controlled Substances Act establishes parameters and strict rules on the manufacture, importation, use and distribution of controlled substances.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2011, CBP seized 13,717 pounds of drugs nationwide.