34 Pounds of Illegal Ketamine Found in Hand Sanitizer seized by Customs

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CINCINNATI, OHIO — Last Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati seized two shipments containing a total of about 34 pounds of smuggled ketamine.

During routine inspections of South American and African freight, officers decided to take a closer look at suspicious shipments of cosmetic face masks and hand sanitizer headed to California. After testing the products with a handheld elemental isotype analysis tool officers discovered they contained liquid ketamine. The cumulative value of the ketamine was about $219,880.

Like many anesthetics ketamine has legitimate medical uses, but it is often misused for its hallucinogenic and sedating effects. Ketamine abuse typically occurs at raves and nightclubs and is commonly used to facilitate sexual assault crimes. It is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug regulated under the Controlled Substances Act.

Officers also inspected a shipment of glass anti-fogging agent headed to a Texas residence and found it contained 27 different steroids and prescription medications such as testosterone, nandrolone, trenbolone, sildenafil, tadalafil, and human growth hormone. The shipment originated from China and, had the contents been legal, would have been worth $43,117.

Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of naturally occurring hormones that are abused to produce muscle growth, enhance athletic or other physical performance, and improve physical appearance. Abuse can lead to dramatic mood swings, increased feelings of hostility, high cholesterol levels, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Anabolic steroid use may cause psychological dependence and addiction, as well as permanent physical changes, and are Schedule III substances under the Controlled Substances Act.

“As trade continues to grow at unprecedented rates, and global supply chains have transformed, CBP is committed to protecting the health and safety of American citizens,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “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.”

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CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.