Largest ever European haul of amphetamine precursor BMK seized

24 April 2015
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The Criminal Department of CBI Polish Police, Unit Gdansk, has seized Europe's largest ever haul of the amphetamine precursor, BMK, in Warsaw. This was the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Polish CBI of Gdansk since 2013.

The seizure consisted of 346 blue jerry cans, each with a capacity of 20 liters, and totaling almost 7 tons. The criminal network involved had imported the BMK from China to Poland, disguised as a consignment of non-ionic surfactants, alkyl polyglycoside (APG). The main suspect – a Polish national - is in custody in Poland, charged with a series of crimes including trafficking BMK, money laundering and forgery of documents.

BMK (benzyl methyl ketone, also called Phenylacetone) is the main precursor for the production of amphetamine. It is listed by the European Union (EU) under Regulation (EC) 273/2004 on drug precursors, and Council Regulation (EC) 111/2005 which lays down the rules for monitoring the trade in drug precursors. As a consequence, operators must hold an authorisation issued by the competent authorities to own, import or export it. There have been no large seizures of BMK within the EU in recent years.

BMK can also be synthesised from pre-precursors such as APAAN (alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile). In recent years, the import of APAAN has been at a very high level and it was consequently placed under control in the EU at the end of 2013. In March 2014, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted unanimously in favor of placing it under international control.

Following the 27 March seizure, officers from Europol's clandestine laboratory team completed the analysis of the chemicals on 9 April, which confirmed the earlier results of the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police. Different samples of the BMK were taken for further profiling.