U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, during a routine inspection, discovered 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of illicit fentanyl powder that had been hidden in a shipment of iron oxide from China. According to CBP, a narcotics detector dog alerted agents to the presence of the drugs inside barrels of iron oxide that had arrived at the facility in late June.
Inside the barrels, inspectors found 50 packages that contained sealed bags or a powdery, white substance. CBP reports that inspectors used a handheld elemental isotope analysis tool for a spot inspection, and the device identified the substance as fentanyl.
A subsequent analysis by CBP’s Laboratory and Scientific Services identified the powder as “4-Fluoroisobutyryl Fentanyl, a fentanyl analog and DEA Schedule I controlled substance.”
"Opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues, are a serious public health concern, and the importation of vast amounts of this deadly synthetic chemical compound is a national security threat. Customs and Border Protection remains committed to keeping our communities safe by combating the flow of illicit drugs, including synthetic opioids, into the United States,” said Casey Durst, CBP Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
The Philadelphia Enquirer reports that nationally, customs officials have intercepted nearly 1,000 pounds of fentanyl in the first four months of 2018.