DEA, CBP, and ICE Seize Pseudo Ephedrine Tablets
FEB 19 -- NEWARK, NJ – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents and Diversion Investigators seized more than 5 million pseudo ephedrine tablets in containerized cargo at Newark Seaport with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Division, Robert E. Perez, Director Field Operations for (CBP) in New York, and William J. Hayes, ICE Acting Special Agent-in-Charge announced t he seizure of 607 cartons of a List I chemical pseudoephedrine tablets. Pseudoephedrine is an immediate precursor chemical that is essential to the production of methamphetamine. The shipment was seized on February 6, 2009 in the Port of Newark as a result of the agencies’ New Jersey Metro Port Initiative. The tablets have an approximate street value of $750,000.
In March 2008, DEA New Jersey Division, in collaboration with CBP and ICE, commenced the Metro Port program in the Port of Newark to prevent List I chemicals or other contraband from being imported into or through the United States . By interdicting precursor chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine, the Metro Port Initiative prevents clandestine math labs from obtaining materials used to manufacture large quantities of the drug that often is destined for the United States .
The shipping container was identified by analysts and investigators from the initiative. Although the shipment was manifested as pseudoephedrine, the shipper did not provide DEA with the required advance transshipment notice to transport a List I chemical. The shipment was detained at the port, tested and subsequently seized by CBP and turned over to DEA. The container was shipped by a company in India and was destined for Haiti after transiting through the Port of Newark . The chemical was believed to be ultimately destined for Mexico . Once in the hands of a drug trafficking organization, the pseudoephedrine tablets could be used to produce the equivalent amount of methamphetamine.
“The combined enforcement efforts of DEA, Customs and Border Protection, and ICE, as part of the Metro Port Initiative; have prevented the illegal movement of this unlicensed shipment of pseudo ephedrine. The seizure of this precursor chemical is an important step in stopping the illegal production of methamphetamine destined for the United States”, said Robert E. Perez, Director, CBP Field Operations, and New York.
DEA SAC Gerard P. McAleer stated, "We are targeting those unscrupulous individuals and companies who knowingly manufacture and ship unjustifiable amounts of pseudo-ephedrine to countries for unlawful purposes. We will continue to use all our global resources to prevent, interdict, and seize shipments bound for illegal trafficking.”
"ICE, DEA, and CBP have once again stopped the importation of dangerous contraband and preventing the distribution of these unregistered chemicals," said William J. Hayes, acting special agent in charge of Ice’s Office of Investigations in Newark .
To date, no arrests have been made and the investigation continues.