US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Cincinnati CBP Seizes 290 Pounds of Designer Drugs

Release Date: 
March 29, 2017

CINCINNATI— From March 6-26, Cincinnati CBP officers seized 83 shipments of illegal synthetic drugs, including over 36 pounds of furanyl fentanyl and 233 pounds of GBL. Officers stationed at a local Cincinnati express consignment facility also found multiple designer drugs such as alpha PVP, commonly known as “flakka” or “gravel,” and N-ethylpentylone, a dangerous stimulant.

Seized Fentanyl
Seized fentanyl

Six shipments of furanyl fentanyl were destined to Camden, New Jersey, where they were part of a significant law enforcement operation resulting in the arrest of an alleged dealer and subsequent seizures of an additional 30 pounds of fentanyl.

Originating from China, the shipments were addressed to individuals in multiple locations throughout seventeen U.S. states and Canada. The packages were improperly manifested as “silicone resin,” “hardware nuts,” “snap hooks,” “plastic sheet sample,” and “nano hydrophobic coatings.”

“This recent enforcement effort was designed to stem the flow of synthetic narcotics to popular Spring Break destinations,” said Cincinnati Acting Port Director Steven Thompson. “The inherently lethal nature of these designer drugs underscores the importance of these sorts of interceptions, and the importance of our officers’ dedication to finding these potentially deadly substances.”

Furanyl fentanyl is a variant of fentanyl designed by illicit drug manufacturers as an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement. Because it is cheap to produce, this deadly synthetic opioid is often added to heroin, increasing the likelihood of overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio have consistently increased since 2013.

Seized alpha PVP
Seized alpha PVP

GBL, gamma-butyrolactone, is a precursor to gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, also known as the date rape drug because of its ability to render victims unconscious or unresponsive. GBL metabolizes to GHB when ingested, and is a strong central nervous system depressant that can result in respiratory depression leading to death.

Alpha PVP and N-ethylpentylone, commonly known as bath salts, can induce hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, violent behavior, and death. These drugs are synthetic derivatives of cathinone, a naturally occurring psychoactive compound found in the fresh leaves of the khat plant.

Furanyl fentanyl, GBL, and bath salts are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.

Last modified: 
March 29, 2017