Ecstasy distribution and trafficking conspiracies are aggressively investigated and prosecuted in federal court. Ecstasy is a very popular drug among young adults especially during music dance parties. The active ingredient is MDMA but other drugs are often sold under the same name including BZP, MDA and MDEA.
BZP is a substance that is often used in ecstasy as a substitute for MDMA. BZP is legal in Canada therefore it is more frequently found in the Eastern District of Michigan. The substance is unlawful under federal law but is not as heavily penalized. The penalty for 500 pills of BZP is the equivalent of 100 pills of mdma (21 month federal sentence guideline with no adjustments – base offense level 16).
It is sold in Canada legally under names like Frenzy or Nemesis. Because Michigan shares an international boarder with Canada, BZP is much more frequently investigated and prosecuted in this state.
It is a cheaper alternative and the high from BZP is more like amphetamine than MDMA but it is still sold as ecstasy by dealers looking to make more money. Its effectiveness is 10 to 20 percent less potent. Federal sentencing guidelines penalize BZP less than MDMA.
The FBI, DEA and ATF are federal law enforcement agencies that typically perform the investigations of these alleged conspiracies. It is common practice for them to use controlled informants and perform video and audio surveillance using information from persons whom have already been busted in return for a lesser sentence.