Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

2,000 litres of meth ingredient disguised as soy sauce seized in Vancouver

Containers seized by the Canada Border Services Agency, which claimed to contain soy sauce but actually contained precursor chemical Hypophosphorous Acid.

Photo courtesy of the CBSA

Over 2,000 litres of the chemical used to make methamphetamine was disguised as soy sauce and seized by border officials in Vancouver, The Canada Border Services Agency announced earlier this week.

The discovery was made April 19 inside of a marine container shipped from China, the CBSA said. While investigating the 384 pails inside of the container, officers noticed "discrepancies in the load."

Upon closer investigation and laboratory tests of the liquid, officers discovered that 139 of the pails actually contained hypophosphorous acid. The acid is considered a Class A precursor chemical used in the making of methamphetamine, and listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Story continues below advertisement

The investigation continues, and no charges have yet been laid.

This isn't the first time precursor chemicals have been disguised as soy sauce. In 2004, a shipping container arriving in Vancouver was intercepted after its shipping manifest claimed it contained 450 cartons of rice noodles and 400 cartons of soy sauce, according to the Vancouver Province and cited in a report prepared for the Department of Public Safety Canada. Instead, 66 of the soy sauce jugs actually contained enough precursor chemicals to produce over 21 million doses of ecstasy.

And in July of 2011, a ship from China containing drug-making chemicals disguised as soy sauce was seized in the Netherlands, according to the South China Morning Post.

In February of this year, over 4 kilograms of suspected heroin was seized from an air cargo shipment sent from Vietnam to Vancouver, which the sender had declared as "name-brand coffee whitener."

And drugs weren't only smuggled with food products, either. In May of last year, two men flying from South America to Toronto, were stopped after an X-ray of their baggage showed the baby bassinets they were carrying contained over 5 kilograms of suspected cocaine. And in June of last year, CBSA officers at a mail processing centre in Montreal seized over $300,000 worth of suspected cocaine hidden inside of mascot costumes.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to