France seizes record haul of Africa-bound drug chemical
French customs have seized a record shipment of a chemical used to make the highly-addictive drug methamphetamine
PARIS, February 15, 2008 - French customs have seized a record shipment of
a chemical used to make the highly-addictive drug methamphetamine, bound from
Lebanon to Africa, officials said Thursday.
In December, Paris airport officials intercepted some 88 million tablets of
pseudoephedrine, a decongestant that is also a key ingredient used to
synthesise ecstasy and methamphetamines, known as "Crystal Meth" or "Ice".
Weighing four tonnes, the chemicals had an estimated resale value of 16.6
million euros (24.3 million dollars) on the illegal drug market, making it the
biggest ever haul of the substance in Europe, the budget ministry said.
The shipment originated in Beirut and was bound for several African
Considered a top narcotics threat by many Western countries,
methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that can be taken as a pill,
smoked, snorted or injected, with long-term side effects including
hallucinations and stroke.
According to UN figures, hauls of synthetic drugs worldwide increased by 53
percent between 1998 and 2005.
Interpol specialists have raised the alarm over the traffic of drug
ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, which they say often transit from
manufacturing sites in China or India, via Africa, to drug factories in Mexico.