Earlier this month U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport intercepted an illegal shipment of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), aided by the recent procurement of a Gemini Thermo Scientific Analyzer (Gemini Analyzer).
A Gemini Analyzer is “a portable handheld device developed to identify unknown synthetic substances with the use of a laser or infrared beam.” The device can identify over 14,000 unknown synthetic substances, including: industrial chemicals, bomb-making materials, and narcotics. It is also the “first and only integrated Raman and FTIR handheld instrument in the world, providing complementary and confirmatory testing in a single, field-portable device.” Gemini Analyzer provides CBP officers with an unprecedented level of safety and reduces the need for officers to send chemical samples to a lab for analysis, accelerating the analysis process.
Thanks to the newfound capability of the Gemini Analyzer, in coordination with the experience and training of CBP Officers, the Dallas Fort Worth International cargo facility successfully detained a large shipment of GBL manifesting as a ‘mixed ink’ shipment. GBL is an illegal substance that when ingested metabolizes into Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), commonly referred to as a club drug or data rape drug. GBL and GHB are both listed on the Schedule of Controlled Substances and require a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration for importation. Due to feedback from the Gemini device, CBP Officers seized the narcotics, which were destined for Dallas.
Upon the recent success of the Gemini Analyzer, CBP Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Facility added the hand-held screening tool to their repertoire. The Gemini Analyzer has assisted the Chicago International Mail Facility and CBP Officers in leading the nation in narcotic seizures, with more than 9,800 in 2018 alone.
With the trafficking of dangerous synthetic drugs, such as Fentanyl and Carfentanyl, on the rise, most of which is being trafficked through U.S. ports of entry, the procurement and deployment of detection technologies by CBP is critical to ensure even more illegal shipments are intercepted.