Cincinnati - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Cincinnati DHL express consignment operation seized over 40 pounds of the synthetic marijuana compound JWH-018 last week. The 40 pounds were comprised of three shipments coming from China destined for a location in Texas. JWH-018 is one of the compounds used in manufacturing the controversial synthetic marijuana known as K2, Afghan Incense, Spice, Demon and Genie.
The CBP examination revealed an unidentifiable white powder in Ziploc bags, concealed within outer bags made of foil which was consistent with past interdictions of synthetic designer drugs. CBP Laboratory and Scientific Services in Chicago confirmed the material was JWH-018 and estimated that one gram of synthetic marijuana contains one-tenth of a percent of JWH-018, which means over 400 pounds of synthetic marijuana could be produced using the seized shipments.
JWH-018 originated at Clemson University, where researchers developed synthetic cannabinoids in an effort to create therapeutic drugs but can also mimic the narcotic effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The original developers have said that the effects in humans have not been studied and could very well be toxic. Side effects can include elevated heart rates, paranoia, vomiting and hallucinations.
"Using synthetic marijuana is extremely dangerous. You have no idea what you're ingesting," said Brian Humphrey, acting CBP director of field operations in Chicago. "These CBP seizures are a great example of our officers and Laboratory and Scientific Services working together to identify and seize substances that could harm our community."
CBP officers and agriculture specialists are stationed at the express consignment facilities located throughout the country. CBP constantly conducts enforcement operations on international parcels and on the lookout for any type of contraband or prohibited items being shipped to the U.S.
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.