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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Lt. Gerald Lewis - ext. 6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones - ext. 6513
Sgt. Julian Castellanos - ext. 6515

January 15, 2009

NJ State Troopers Seize $127,000 of
Hallucinogenic Drug on Turnpike

Newark, N.J. - State troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike got more than a drunk driver off the road during an arrest on Saturday morning. This morning at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Division, State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes, DEA Special Agent in Charge, Gerard P. McAleer, and Hudson County Prosecutor Ed De Fazio talked about the arrest and a groundbreaking seizure of drugs.

Troopers found what is believed to be the first distribution-sized package of processed DMT ever seized in the N.J. DMT, also known as Dimethyltryptamine, is a dangerous, hallucinogenic drug causing powerful, short-lived effects.

Shortly before 4:00 a.m. Saturday, January 10th, troopers patrolling southbound on the eastern extension of the Turnpike in Secaucus observed a vehicle driving erratically. They stopped the car and arrested the driver, Yusuf Samantar, 33, Prospect Ave., in Newark, N.J., for DWI. During a search of the vehicle, troopers found a plastic bag wrapped with tape containing the CDS (controlled dangerous substance) weighing almost one and one-half pounds.

Troopers and State Police detectives were unable to identify the brownish, packed powder substance, so they called in the NJSP Hazardous Materials Unit, which identified it as DMT, a schedule 1 drug. The drug is becoming popular in the club scene in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas where it is sold for $200 per gram. The package seized in this investigation is valued at $127,000.

Samantar, a software engineer, is originally from Somalia. In addition to DWI and traffic violations, he has been charged with possession of CDS (schedule 1) with intent to distribute. Judge Kracov, Hudson County Superior Court, set Samantar’s bail at $150,000 full cash. He posted bail on Tuesday, January 13, and has been released pending court.

DMT is smoked, ingested or even injected and induces intense hallucinations, and causing users to become dangerously unaware of their surroundings. The active chemical occurs naturally in several South American plants, and has been used by shamans in some ritualistic rites. Its use as a club and recreational drug is a relatively recent and disturbing development. Some street names for the drug include “45-minute psychosis,” “businessman’s LSD,” “businessman’s special,” and “fantasia.”

The investigation is still ongoing and further information is not available at this time. Troopers called the Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division for assistance in the case. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office will be prosecuting the state charges.

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