STERLING, Va. (7News) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they seized roughly 46 pounds of ketamine in an air cargo shipment from Cameroon on October 10 at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The value of the seized ketamine was estimated at $1.3 million.
Officials said they discovered the animal tranquilizers after CBP’s agriculture specialists scrutinized a shipment falsely labeled as “Garri and Water FuFu” destined for an address in Washington D.C.
CBP officials said they uncovered seven packages, including five labeled as Water Fufu and two packages labeled as Garri, products typically derived from cassava.
Within the bundles, CBP agriculture specialists and officers discovered five bundles containing a crystallized white powder.
CBP officers used a tool to confirm the presence of ketamine hydrochloride in the packages.
Ketamine hydrochloride is a Schedule III non-narcotic compound regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, and is a potent animal tranquilizer with both medical and illicit applications, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
The DEA said ketamine is medically used to induce sedation, immobility, and pain relief, but has recently been abused for its ability to induce dissociative sensations and hallucinations and to facilitate sexual assault.
Overdosing on ketamine can result in severe health consequences, including nausea, irregular heart rate, muscle stiffening, unconsciousness and respiratory failure.
The seized ketamine weighed approximately 45 pounds and 15 ounces.
No arrests have been made yet, as the incident remains under investigation.
Acting Area Port Director for CBP’s Area Port of Washington, D.C., Christine Waugh emphasized the ongoing efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations smuggling illicit narcotics into the United States.
“Customs and Border Protection remains committed to keeping our country and our communities safe from the scourge of dangerous drugs,” Waugh said.
CBP officers and agents seize an average of 2,895 pounds of dangerous drugs daily at air, sea and land ports of entry.