News Column

Feds Believe Designer Drug Shipped From China to D'Iberville

May 7, 2013

An illegal substance shipped from China to a D'Iberville home in March has been determined to be a synthetic chemical known by its slang name as Molly, a designer drug similar to Ecstasy, court papers show.

The substance field-tested positive for Ecstasy or meth, and federal agents suspected it was Ecstasy, but a federal indictment indicates lab tests show the substance is 4-MEC, a chemical not intended for human consumption.

It has no acceptable medical use and is not even safe for use under medical supervision, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

4-MEC is a stimulant similar to mephedrone, and is often found in products labeled as bath salts but sold for illegal drug use.

Federal agents arrested Phung Nguyen, 48, on March 7 after he went to a D'Iberville home where the substance had been delivered.

A few days earlier, an inspector at the D'Iberville Post Office had intercepted four packages that contained about 4.4 pounds of a white powdery substance.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations and the DEA went to the post office to examine the substance.

A postal inspector delivered the packages to a D'Iberville home, and federal agents had the house surrounded when Nguyen showed up to retrieve the packages, a DEA agent said in an affidavit.

Nguyen told agents the substance is "Chinese medicine" intended for human consumption, the agent said.

4-MEC is listed on the federal Controlled Substance Analogue Act as not intended for human consumption.

Investigators believe Nguyen had picked up similar shipments from the D'Iberville home a month earlier and deposited $500 in the checking account of a woman who lives there.

The criminal complaint, based on allegations of trafficking Ecstasy, has been dismissed and replaced with a four-count indictment on conspiracy charges that involve importing and distributing 4-MEC.

Nguyen, believed to live in Houston, is held for trial June 6 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

Source: (c)2013 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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