U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at Los Angeles International Airport seized two shipments last month containing 5,700 pounds of a chemical used to make methamphetamine, CBP officials said.
The CBP officers recovered 80 bags at an LAX air cargo consignment facility after shipments arrived from China with a final destination in central Mexico, CBP spokesman Jamie Ruiz said. A white powdery chemical was discovered inside the bags and samples were positively identified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as methylamine chloride, a List 1 controlled substance, Ruiz said.
If the chemical were used to make the methamphetamine drug, the street value of this seizure is estimated at $40 million, according to CBP.
“Once again, we take enormous pride in the exceptional caliber of our officers in intercepting these drug precursors from Asia and preventing their reaching the cartels in Mexico,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “The alertness and attention to duty is vital to the mission of CBP in protecting the homeland from all harm, including that of dangerous drugs.”
Methylamine chloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong-odor chemical. It is a List 1 controlled substance by the DEA with many legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products.
Suppliers of these products are subject to regulations and control measures, with rules on the manufacture, importation, use and distribution of controlled substances.