U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized an estimated $179,000 worth of a chemical used in erectile dysfunction drugs from a passenger’s baggage earlier this month, CBP officials said.

Customs officers working at the Tom Bradley International Terminal Jan. 6 referred a 40-year-old Korean national for secondary baggage examination. During their inspection of the passenger’s two carry-on bags, CBP officers found several heat sealed pouches containing approximately 63.3 pounds of a white powdery substance, CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz said.

The passenger claimed to officers that the powder was a Chinese herb, but the pouches were detained and samples of the substance were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services, CBP’s scientific arm. Chemists identified the powder as tadalafil, the main chemical component of erectile dysfunction drugs, Ruiz said.

Customs officials noted that a filed application or approval, which the unidentified passenger lacked, is required to introduce a new drug into interstate commerce.

“This is another prime example of the daily vigilance of CBP officers at LAX,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “I commend their dedicated efforts which often result in interceptions of contraband and prohibited items at the frontline of our borders.”

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