Los Angeles -- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at an air cargo consignment facility of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized 40 drums, 2,200 pounds of methylamine hydrochloride and two barrels, 880 pounds of ethyl phenyl acetate, both known chemicals that are used as precursors to methamphetamine and ecstasy. The shipment arrived from China with a final destination in the state of Illinois.
"In terms of volume this is a significant interception and definitely one of the largest meth precursor seizures at LAX in recent years," said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. "CBP focuses much of its law enforcement efforts on keeping dangerous and illegal drugs out of America and off the streets."
On Sept. 29, CBP officers discovered and seized the shipment. Samples of the substance were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), CBP's scientific arm. LSS's chemist team identified the chemical as methylamine hydrochloride.
With the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) it was determined that both methylamine hydrochloride and ethyl phenyl acetate are List 1 controlled substances.
Methylamine hydrochloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong odor chemical essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy. Methylamine hydrochloride has 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 2010, CBP seized 25,209 pounds of drugs nationwide.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.