STERLING, Va. – It wasn’t a holiday gift that Santa would deliver, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport are happy with the surprise they discovered when they unwrapped an express delivery parcel from Austria on Christmas day.
CBP officers were pleased to have intercepted ketamine, a dangerous substance used as a club drug and in sexual assaults.
CBP officers discovered the ketamine while conducting routine examinations of arriving international parcels. Officers examined a package manifested as “merchandise, writing board” that was destined to an address in Flushing, N.Y., and observed that the package was unusually heavy. Officers then opened the package and probed the side of one writing board. Officers discovered a white, powdery substance that field-tested positive for the presence of ketamine hydrochloride.
CBP officers discovered a similar white substance inside each of six writing boards.
CBP officers did not extract the ketamine, but seized the writing boards and turned them over to special agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). HSI special agents continue to investigate.
According to the DEA, ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act. Ketamine, commonly known on the street as Special K, distorts perceptions, causes amnesia, temporary paralysis, and dangerously slows breathing, potentially shutting down body systems and leading to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
Along with other club drugs, ketamine is popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and raves. It delivers hallucinogenic effects and is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault crimes.
So far this fiscal year, which started on October 1, 2021, CBP officers in the Baltimore Field Office have reported 21 ketamine seizures with a combined weight of about 60 pounds. During fiscal year 2021, Baltimore Field Office officers recorded 37 seizures with a combined weight of about 150 pounds.
“Customs and Border Protection officers are extremely skilled at detecting contraband even through the clever disguise of creative concealment methods such as these writing boards,” said Daniel Escobedo, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C. “CBP’s narcotics interdiction mission is vital to protecting our nation’s citizens and our communities from the dangers of illicit drugs.”
CBP officers and agents seized an average of 3,677 pounds of dangerous drugs every day at our nation’s air, land and sea ports of entry. See what else CBP accomplished during a typical day in 2020.
CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.
Follow the Director of CBP’s Baltimore Field Office on Twitter at @DFOBaltimore for breaking news, current events, human interest stories and photos, and CBP’s Office of Field Operations on Instagram at @cbpfieldops.