Some Californians won't be receiving their mail packages after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized $200,000 worth of ketamine hidden in gift boxes.
According to CBP, agents were conducting a routine inspection on September 10 when they decided to have a closer look at two suspicious shipments that were coming from an international carrier in Madrid, Spain.
When the officers opened the packages, they found gift boxes containing shirts. After a closer look, a white powdery substance was observed hidden within the box flaps — it ended up testing positive for ketamine hydrochloride.
A total of 28 pounds of drugs were seized by the officers. The $200,000 worth of ketamine shipments were headed to different addresses in the state of California.
CBP considers ketamine a schedule 3 controlled substance. This drug is used both in human and veterinary medicine to cause immobility, sedation and relief from pain, and, according to the government agency, it is often abused due to its capacity to generate "dissociative sensations and hallucinations."
Ketamine is frequently used by teens and young adults in party settings and, CBP notes, "has also been used to facilitate sexual assault." Overdoses can generate nausea, muscle stiffening, unconsciousness, irregular heart rate and respiratory failure that could lead to death.
"CBP encounters narcotics and other contraband concealed in an ever-changing variety of items," said Chicago Director of Field Operations LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke in a press release. "Our officers remain vigilant often using their experience and intuition to discover these concealment methods to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities."