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Erectile dysfunction drug seized at LAX

January 13, 2012 | 11:04 am

Tadalafil seized

A man’s attempt to sneak 63 pounds of an erectile dysfunction chemical into the U.S. was cut short by authorities at Los Angeles International Airport.

Officers with Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 6 stopped a 40-year-old Korean national after they spotted several heat sealed pouches filled with a white powdery substance in his two suitcases, officials said.

The man claimed the powder was a Chinese herb, but when officials sent samples to a lab, they identified it as tadalafil, an active pharmaceutical ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs.

The estimated value of his load was $179,000.

The man, who intended to stay in a hotel in downtown Los Angeles for a few days, did not have the required approval to bring the chemical into the United States, said Anne Maricich, assistant director of Customs and Border Protection in Los Angeles.

Tadalafil is discovered every so often in mail packages, but this is the first time officers have found it in a passenger’s luggage, she said.

“When you see this quantity, it leads us to believe there’s some larger distribution here in the U.S.,” Maricich said. “After it’s been processed and pressed into pills it’s on the market or on EBay.”

There are numerous online sites that try to pass as pharmacy outlets to sell erectile dysfunction drugs, she said.

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-- Esmeralda Bermudez

Photo: Erectile dysfunction chemicals were seized at LAX on Dec. 6. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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