U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at an air cargo facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) said they seized more than 3,000 pounds of precursor chemicals to methamphetamine and ecstasy in a shipment late last month.
Customs officers discovered containers with 2,200 pounds of methylamine hydrochloride and 880 pounds of ethyl phenyl acetate in a shipment arriving from China Sept. 29 and headed for Illinois, a CBP spokesperson said.
“In terms of volume, this is a significant interception and definitely one of the largest meth precursor seizures at LAX in recent years,” said Todd C. Owen CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “CBP focuses much of its law enforcement efforts on keeping dangerous and illegal drugs out of America and off the streets.”
Samples of the chemicals were sent to Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS), CBP’s scientific arm, where chemists identified the chemical as methylamine hydrochloride, the CBP spokesman said.
With the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it was determined that both methylamine hydrochloride and ethyl phenyl acetate are List 1 controlled substances.
Methylamine hydrochloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong odor chemical essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy, according to CBP.
The chemical has legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products and suppliers of these products are subject to regulations and control measures.
The Controlled Substances Act establishes parameters and strict rules on the manufacture, importation, use and distribution of controlled substances.