New handheld device quickly identifies unknown substances
DALLAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport added a new piece of technology that immediately begun to pay dividends when it identified 49 pounds of a Schedule I Controlled Substance shipped to Dallas.
CBP officers added a handheld elemental isotype analysis tool to their inventory and on its initial use, intercepted a shipment of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), an illegal substance.
The handheld elemental isotype tool is a portable handheld device developed to identify unknown synthetic substances with the use of a laser or infrared beam. The device is capable of identifying over 14,000 different substances including industrial chemicals, bomb-making materials and narcotics. It will allow CBP officers to identify potentially harmful substances intercepted at U.S. ports of entry without having to send a sample to a lab for analysis. Results from this device are also admissible in court.
CBP officers at the DFW cargo facility are using the handheld tool to identify substances they encounter during their examinations. Officers were examining a shipment manifested as mixed ink but the test
returned an identification of GBL. GBL is a substance that when ingested metabolizes into Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, GHB, commonly referred to as a club drug or a date rape drug. GHL is used to produce GHB illegally in the U.S. and both substances are listed on the Schedule of Controlled Substances requiring a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to import the substances.
“The addition of the Gemini device will provide added safety to our officers who encounter unknown substances through the course of their duties. This technology will also increase the efficiency of identifying dangerous substances attempting to make their way into the United States,” said Cleatus P. Hunt, Jr., Area Port Director, Area Port of Dallas. “Ultimately our officers relied on their training and experience in the detection of narcotics, and dangerous substances, which led to this significant find.”
CBP’s use of the new device will allow officers in the field to identify potentially dangerous substances including Fentanyl and Carfentanyl.
Based on the results from the device, CBP officers seized the narcotics, which were destined for Dallas.
On a typical day in fiscal year 2017, CBP officers seized more than 7900 pounds.