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Federal, State Authorities Seize Dangerous Synthetic Cannabinoid Compounds in Pittsburgh

Release Date: 
March 16, 2018

PITTSBURGH – Federal and state authorities in Pittsburgh seized three shipments of synthetic cannabinoid compounds from China February 27 after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago targeted the parcel as a suspect shipment.

Chicago CBP officers previously seized a shipment of synthetic compounds from the Chinese shipper.

Package of N-ethylpentylone, commonly known as bath salts.
Package of N-ethylpentylone,
commonly known as bath salts.

Pittsburgh CBP officers, special agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspectors, and Pennsylvania State Police investigators detained and tested the products.

One shipment consisted of red, crystal-like chunks that was identified as N-ethylpentylone, commonly known as bath salts. It weighed about 2 pounds, 12 ounces and was destined to a Pittsburgh address.

The other two shipments consisted of a white powdery substance that was identified as ADB-FUBINACA, sold generally as Spice or K2. These two shipments weighed a combined 3 pounds, 4 ounces, and were destined to a Swissvale, Pa., address.

An investigation continues.

Designer synthetic cannabis drugs are smoked for their psychoactive effects. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies synthetic cannabinoid compounds as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

“Customs and Border Protection will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to seize shipments of designer synthetic cannabinoid compounds and other dangerous drugs that pose potential harm to American citizens and our communities,” said Susan Anderson, CBP Port Director for the Port of Pittsburgh. “Narcotics interdiction remains a CBP enforcement priority, and a mission that we take very serious.”

Package of ADB-FUBINACA, sold generally as Spice or K2
Package of ADB-FUBINACA, sold
generally as Spice or K2

The parcels arrived from China through an international mail facility in New York and tracked to Pittsburgh.

During "A Typical Day" in 2017, CBP officers seized 5,863 pounds of narcotics.

“This interception is another example that demonstrates the unwavering commitment of Customs and Border Protection officers in safeguarding America every day against the potentially deadly consequences posed by synthetic cannabis products and other dangerous drugs,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S. In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about CBP at CBP.gov.

Last modified: 
March 16, 2018