CINCINNATI—Since April 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati have seized ten shipments containing a total of over 106 pounds of smuggled ketamine. The shipments were coming from locations throughout Europe and Africa and were destined to addresses across the United States.
During routine inspections, officers decided to take a closer look at multiple shipments containing décor, clothing, spices, and protein powder, among other articles. After testing bottles of nutritional supplements, unknown liquids, and bath salts with a handheld chemical analyzer, officers discovered liquid or powder ketamine in all of the products. The cumulative value of the ketamine was $704,270.
Like many anesthetics, ketamine has legitimate medical uses, but can be abused for its hallucinogenic and sedating effects. Ketamine distorts perceptions, causes temporary paralysis, and dangerously slows breathing, potentially shutting down body systems and leading to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Along with other club drugs, ketamine abuse typically occurs at raves and dance clubs, and is commonly used to facilitate sexual assault crimes. It is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act.
“Our experienced officers continue to protect our citizens and their children,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers are exceptional at integrating and analyzing data to determine shipments that may pose a risk to innocent civilians. This level of skill allows them to excel at identifying and removing these dangerous drugs from the e-commerce supply chain.”
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture products, and other illicit items that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.