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Argentinian security forces crack down on Pandora, a drug more powerful than LSD

Argentinian security forces crack down on Pandora, a drug more powerful than                  LSD

By Dialogo
October 28, 2014



Drug dealers tell their customers that the synthetic drug known as
“Pandora” will allow them to escape their worries. More often, however, it
destroys their health – and sometimes it ends their lives.
“Every weekend, in the most important districts of Argentina, between
5 and 6 youths are admitted to hospitals with a clinical condition related
to the use of synthetic drugs,” said Claudio Izaguirre, president of the
Anti-Drug Association of the Republic of Argentina (AARA). “This is a
serious problem each year.”
Pandora is popular with Argentinians between the ages of 19 and 25;
users often ingest it at electronic music festivals. But the drug -- which
is also known as “C-Boom” or “Bomba” – is 10 times stronger than LSD, and
when mixed with alcohol it can become deadly. There have been several cases
of young people dying in Europe and in the United States after using it.

Pandora arrives in Argentina

Pandora is typically transported into Argentina from Europe. In some
cases, drug trafficking gangs smuggle the drugs into the country, often from
the Netherlands, and occasionally routing them through a second European
country such as Spain. In other cases, some college students – sometimes
known as “narcostudents” – obtain the drugs through the mail, and then sell
them on campus.
The drug is usually distributed on small pieces of absorbent paper
which dissolve in the mouth; it’s also available in powder form and in
pills. And its effects are quick and dramatic: they include increased
hallucinations, paranoia, fear, and anxiety, among others. Designer drugs
are relatively easy to manufacture and highly profitable for traffickers.
Criminal organizations are exploiting the drug’s chemical formula since it
is not listed as an unlawful substance.
In 2003, drug trafficking operatives synthesized Pandora for the first
time. By 2010, the drug was widely available in Europe, and arrived shortly
thereafter in the United States. Argentinian security forces in Mar de Plata
seized 12 doses of the drug in January 2014. That may be when it first
appeared in Argentina -- nearly a year after it first emerged in Latin
America, when authorities in Chile seized a shipment of 800 doses in March
2013.

Police break up an alleged university drug ring

Pandora may have arrived in Argentina, but law enforcement officials
are already registering important successes against it.
For example, on June 23 – in a security operation known as
“Universitas” – agents with the Federal Police arrested a dozen university
students who were allegedly selling Pandora in Buenos Aires.
The suspected narcostudents were allegedly working with Ariel Álvarez,
the leader of an international gang that is known for hiding cocaine and
ecstasy pills inside skis before transporting the drugs to Europe.
Argentinian security forces suspect Álvarez also sells designer drugs in
fashionable bars and nightclubs in Buenos Aires.
SDP agents learned of the alleged drug trafficking ring in June when
they intercepted a phone call between a student and a member of Álvarez’s
gang. Acting on that intelligence, police tapped the phone lines of the
suspects and eventually found the band of alleged narcostudents. The
investigation eventually led to the seizure of 25,000 doses of Pandora, as
well as over 20,000 pills of ecstacy.


Drug dealers tell their customers that the synthetic drug known as
“Pandora” will allow them to escape their worries. More often, however, it
destroys their health – and sometimes it ends their lives.
“Every weekend, in the most important districts of Argentina, between
5 and 6 youths are admitted to hospitals with a clinical condition related
to the use of synthetic drugs,” said Claudio Izaguirre, president of the
Anti-Drug Association of the Republic of Argentina (AARA). “This is a
serious problem each year.”
Pandora is popular with Argentinians between the ages of 19 and 25;
users often ingest it at electronic music festivals. But the drug -- which
is also known as “C-Boom” or “Bomba” – is 10 times stronger than LSD, and
when mixed with alcohol it can become deadly. There have been several cases
of young people dying in Europe and in the United States after using it.

Pandora arrives in Argentina

Pandora is typically transported into Argentina from Europe. In some
cases, drug trafficking gangs smuggle the drugs into the country, often from
the Netherlands, and occasionally routing them through a second European
country such as Spain. In other cases, some college students – sometimes
known as “narcostudents” – obtain the drugs through the mail, and then sell
them on campus.
The drug is usually distributed on small pieces of absorbent paper
which dissolve in the mouth; it’s also available in powder form and in
pills. And its effects are quick and dramatic: they include increased
hallucinations, paranoia, fear, and anxiety, among others. Designer drugs
are relatively easy to manufacture and highly profitable for traffickers.
Criminal organizations are exploiting the drug’s chemical formula since it
is not listed as an unlawful substance.
In 2003, drug trafficking operatives synthesized Pandora for the first
time. By 2010, the drug was widely available in Europe, and arrived shortly
thereafter in the United States. Argentinian security forces in Mar de Plata
seized 12 doses of the drug in January 2014. That may be when it first
appeared in Argentina -- nearly a year after it first emerged in Latin
America, when authorities in Chile seized a shipment of 800 doses in March
2013.

Police break up an alleged university drug ring

Pandora may have arrived in Argentina, but law enforcement officials
are already registering important successes against it.
For example, on June 23 – in a security operation known as
“Universitas” – agents with the Federal Police arrested a dozen university
students who were allegedly selling Pandora in Buenos Aires.
The suspected narcostudents were allegedly working with Ariel Álvarez,
the leader of an international gang that is known for hiding cocaine and
ecstasy pills inside skis before transporting the drugs to Europe.
Argentinian security forces suspect Álvarez also sells designer drugs in
fashionable bars and nightclubs in Buenos Aires.
SDP agents learned of the alleged drug trafficking ring in June when
they intercepted a phone call between a student and a member of Álvarez’s
gang. Acting on that intelligence, police tapped the phone lines of the
suspects and eventually found the band of alleged narcostudents. The
investigation eventually led to the seizure of 25,000 doses of Pandora, as
well as over 20,000 pills of ecstacy.
After the drug trafficking university students have served that sentence. They should be strictly barred from entering any educational establishment. I fully agree with Vivianna's comment.
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