CBP Seizes Two Shipments of Dangerous Controlled Substances Destined to NY and Chicago

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia seized two shipments of dangerous controlled substances – a date-rape precursor and an LSD-like hallucinogenic – that arrived in express delivery parcels from overseas.

The first parcel, which was destined to an address in Chicago, arrived on from Germany and was manifested as “Butanediol Samples.” Butanediol is a solvent used as a floor stripper and paint thinner. CBP officers examined the shipment and discovered 10 bottles of a clear liquid packaged as a cleaning solution.

Officers tested the liquid using a handheld elemental isotope analysis tool and identified the liquid as gamma butyrolactone (GBL), a DEA Schedule 1 controlled substance. The GBL collectively weighed nearly 3.5 gallons.

According to the DEA, GBL is a chemical analogue of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a highly addictive central nervous system depressant that poses potentially severe health consequences. Sexual predators have used GBL as precursor chemical in a date-rape drug, and others abuse GBL as a bodybuilding supplement and human growth hormone.

The second parcel arrived on from the Netherlands and was manifested as “Mimosa Tenuiflora.” CBP officers inspected the Dutchess County, N.Y., bound shipment and discovered 57 pounds of tree bark pieces.

The tree bark pieces tested positive for dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a schedule I controlled substance. DMT is used for its psychedelic and hallucinogenic effects and was a popular drug of abuse in the 1960’s. When extracted from plants, the DMT appears as a white crystalline powder and abusers can smoke or brew it for an LSD-like effect. Though DMT is a naturally occurring substance in many species of South American plants, including mimosa tenuiflora, it has no approved medical use in the United States.

“The seizures of DMT and GBL reinforce the importance of Customs and Border Protection officers conducting thorough parcel examinations,” said Joseph Martella, Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Philadelphia. “Unscrupulous international vendors continue to peddle their illicit and dangerous products to American consumers, and CBP officers remain committed to intercepting their shipments before the products can harm American citizens.”

During Fiscal Year 2021, which ended September 30, 2021, CBP officers in the Baltimore Field Office operations area seized nearly 18 pounds of GBL during five seizures and about 33 pounds of DMT during 21 seizures. So far this fiscal year, CBP officers have seized nearly 42 pounds of GBL during three seizures and nearly 115 pounds of DMT during two seizures.

CBP officers and agents seized an average of 4,732 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 2021.