U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers said they confiscated 520 pounds of a chemical used in the production of methamphetamine and ecstasy from a shipment arriving at Los Angeles International Airport.

Customs officers working at an air cargo consignment facility at LAX Aug. 12 discovered eight drums of the chemical, methylamine hydrochloride, in a shipment from China that was destined for central Mexico, a CBP spokesperson said.

The more than 500 pounds of the chemical found in the containers could theoretically produce over 330 pounds of methamphetamine, according to CBP.

“This interception is a fine example of the behind-the-scenes hard work of CBP officers to keep dangerous narcotics, and precursor chemicals used to manufacturer these dangerous drugs, from reaching the drug trafficking organizations,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles.

Samples of the chemical powder were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), CBP’s scientific branch, and chemists identified the chemical as methylamine hydrochloride, the CBP spokesperson said.

Methylamine hydrochloride, a corrosive, flammable, strong odor chemical, is identified as a List 1 controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It has many legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products, though suppliers of these products are subject to regulations and control measures, according to CBP.

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