Intercepted designer drug valued at $440K
HOUSTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized over 40 pounds of AB-Chminaca valued at $440,000 in a two-day period.
AB-Chminaca is synthetic cannabis created in laboratories to mimic the effects of marijuana and according to the Drug Enforcement Administration is likely used in e-cigarette devices.
CBP officers in Houston seized 22 pounds of the designer drug Aug. 20. The shipment was identical to a package that was seized Aug. 19 for containing 22 pounds of the same illicit narcotic. CBP officers here became interested in the shipments after receiving intelligence from CBP officers in Miami and Cincinnati.
The packages were shipped through a private international mail service and marked as printing ink filler; however, when officers examined the shipment, they discovered plastic bags containing a white powdery substance. Officers detained the shipment until CBP’s Laboratory Scientific Services in Houston properly identified the substance. CBP scientists confirmed that the powder in the packages was AB-Chminaca.
“This synthetic drug is a dangerous narcotic and is illegal to use, distribute or purchase,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “These seizures reflect our commitment to disrupting transnational criminal activity. Attempting to use a private mail service to deliver this narcotic does not make the practice legal.”
The seized narcotic, which was enroute to two separate addresses in Houston, was turned over to the Houston Police Department.
DEA issued a final order in January to temporarily place synthetic cannabinoids including AB-Chminaca into the schedule provisions of the Controlled Substances Act to avoid imminent hazard to public safety.
CBP officers and agriculture specialists work at international mail facilities and express consignment courier hub operations throughout the country inspecting international shipments arriving to, through or from the United States, and will seize contraband including illicit narcotics shipped using these services.
CBP officers seized 10,327 pounds of drugs on a typical day in fiscal year 2014. Additional CBP statistics are available here.