10/24/2013 05:26 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

'Bath Salts' Drugs Seized By CBSA En Route To Kelowna

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2011 file photo, containers of bath salts, synthetic stimulants that mimic the effects of traditional drugs like cocaine and speed, sit on a counter at Hemp's Above in Mechanicsburg, Pa. On July 10, 2012, President Obama signed a law banning more than two dozen of the most common chemicals used to make the drugs. Over the past two years health care and law enforcement professionals have seen a surge in use of the drugs, often sold under the guise of bath salts, incense and plant food. (AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Chris Knight) MANDATORY CREDIT
KELOWNA, B.C. - Charges are pending against two women from West Kelowna, B.C., after the seizure of potentially lethal drugs known as bath salts mailed from China.

The Canada Border Services Agency seized 16 kilograms of methylone in three packages at the Vancouver International Mail Centre, where it processes mail for Western Canada.

The relatively new and highly addictive synthetic amphetamines being imported into the province comes in the form of a white or brown crystalline powder that looks like salt, the RCMP's federal Serious Crime branch said Thursday.

One parcel was intercepted on Aug. 23 and the other two on Aug. 26. They were both destined for West Kelowna, where the two women were arrested on Sept. 19.

Heather Ardiel, chief of the mail centre, said the parcels were declared as table salt and intercepted by two officers.

She said the suspicious substance in a plastic bag wrapped in tin foil tested positive for amphetamine after the two seizures.

"The CBSA places a high priority on the detection and interdiction of illegal drugs at designated ports of entry, including CBSA mail centres," Ardiel said.

"Upon arrival in Canada, all international mail items are sent to the CBSA to process at one of three CBSA mail centres in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal."

The so-called bath salts, which can be snorted, smoked or liquefied and then injected started showing up in Eastern Canada as early as 2011, and Mounties say users experience elevated heart rates and hallucinations and could easily overdose.

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