INDIANAPOLIS— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Express Consignment Operations hub in Indianapolis actively seize narcotics on a nightly basis, but February 3-6 three seizures demonstrate the lengths criminals will go to conceal their drugs.
On February 3, officers detained a shipment containing water purification equipment with seven steel filters. When officers x-rayed the filters, they noticed some anomalies. When the officers disassembled the pieces, two bags containing a total of 12-and-a-half pounds of ketamine were found.
Two days later officers were examining a pair of elephant statues and discovered a white granular powder concealed inside the elephants. Officers tested the powder which tested positive for ketamine. Almost 20 pounds of ketamine was seized.
Finally on February 6, two folding ottomans were examined by officers, and this led to the discovery of white granular powder inside the walls and top of the ottomans. In total, officers discovered 17 pounds of ketamine.
“These seizures demonstrate the vigilance and dedication of our CBP officers who are on the frontline protecting the health and safety of American citizens,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Our officers continue to use their skills, experience, intuition, and all available tools to ensure these kinds of shipments don’t make it into our homes.”
One shipment was arriving from Slovakia, while the other two were arriving from France. All three shipments were destined for residences in New York. The ketamine would have had a street value of over $321,000.
Like many anesthetics, ketamine has legitimate medical uses, but can be abused for its hallucinogenic and sedating effects. Ketamine distorts perception, causes 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 abuse typically occurs at raves and dance clubs, and is commonly used to facilitate sexual assault crimes. It is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act.
“Our experienced officers continue to protect our citizens and their children,” said Tim Hubbard, Acting Port Director- Indianapolis. “Our officers are exceptional at integrating and analyzing data to determine shipments that may pose a risk to innocent civilians. This level of skill allows them to excel at identifying and removing these dangerous drugs from the e-commerce supply chain.”
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 products, and other illicit items that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.