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Miami Cops Make ‘Special K’ Bust

September 11, 1999

MIAMI (AP) _ Police seized more than 11,000 vials of a designer drug likely intended for teen-age rave parties in the largest U.S. seizure of ketamine, known on the street as ``Special K″.

Officials estimated the potential value of the drugs seized Friday at $4 million.

The drugs were discovered after officers pulled over a truck for a traffic violation, according to police. The driver matched the description of a suspect in the ketamine ring, authorities said.

Officers found 2,162 vials of ketamine in boxes in the back. The driver, Geraldo Baptista, led them to a warehouse with thousands more, authorities said.

Baptista, 37, was arrested Friday and charged with drug possession and distribution, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.

Ketamine is manufactured in the United States as a clear liquid used primarily by veterinarians as an animal anesthesia. Boiled into a powder, it can be snorted, swallowed in pill form or added to drinks for a hallucinogenic high.

It also can cause permanent brain damage in humans, slow the heart rate to the point of death, and cause a stupor-like condition that has led to ketamine being labeled a ``date-rape″ drug.

``This drug is very common at rave parties ... where you find the 15-, 16-year-old kids taking these types of narcotics,″ Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Juan Perez said.