A few days ago, a friend texted me an urgent warning directed to ladies everywhere. The communication purportedly came from Kentucky police Sgt. Gregory L. Joyner with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.
Although the text looked legit, I called the phone number given for Sgt. Joyner to get more information and confirmation – only to discover that it was disconnected.
An online search for Sgt. Joyner revealed right away that this text/story is, in and of itself, fake, and has made the social rounds since early May 2008. The woman in question was identified only as “Jaime Rodriguez’s neighbor” with the site of the assault “at a gas station in Katy.” Neither the state nor type of gas station was mentioned.
Keep this in mind as you read the urgent warning. Here is what it said:
If you are female, take heed! If you are male and have a significant female in your life who you care about, whether it’s your wife, your girlfriend, your daughter, your sister, your niece, your cousin, your next door neighbor, whomever…pass this along!
Always practice the old saying, “Better safe than sorry!”
A man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card. She said no, but accepted his card out of courtesy and got in her car.
The man then got into a car driven by another gentleman. As the lady left the service station, she saw the men following her out of the station at the same time.
Almost immediately, the woman started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand – the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station.
She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do something at that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn repeatedly to ask for help. The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes afterward until she could finally catch her breath.
Apparently, there was a substance on the card that could have seriously injured her. This drug is called ‘BURUNDANGA’ and it is used by people who wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal from or take advantage of them
This drug is four times more dangerous than the date rape drug and is transferable on simple cards.
So take heed and make sure you don’t accept cards at any given time you are alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a card when they offer their services.
Sgt. Joyner requests that everyone PLEASE SEND THIS ALERT TO EVERY FEMALE/MALE YOU KNOW!!!! For further information, please contact Sgt. Joyner at 400 S. 6th St, Louisville, Ky 40202 (office phone: 502-574-7213).
Other skeptics who followed up on this disturbing message discovered that nobody in the U.S. filed any official reports that they had gotten dizzy after being handed a card by a stranger. The message above is a mixture of fact and fiction.
The fiction is the story itself, but the fact is that there is a drug called burundanga coming out of Colombia. It is an extract of the datura plant (“Loco Weed,” so named because it makes horses go crazy for a while after they eat it) which contains toxic alkaloids such as scopolamine and atropine.
Burundanga is odorless so there’s no way it could give off a smell, as stated in the “police warning” message.
The alkaloids scopolamine and atropine are indeed powerful poisons. In low doses, they cause dry mouth, dizziness, sweating, and blurred vision. High doses can produce delirium and unconsciousness.
But burundanga has to be inhaled or swallowed to have the strong effects described in the texted warning. The odds are almost zero that a business card could be laced with enough poison to penetrate the skin after the mere touch of a paper card.
Scopolamine does have some valid, legal, medical applications. But, ingesting scopolamine “can lead to hallucinations and there have been cases of people being drugged with Burundanga who are then easily coerced into activities such as making large bank withdrawals before casually handing their money over to their robbers.”
Scopolamine is used to treat Parkinson’s disease, as a sedative, to dilate the pupil, and to prevent nausea and motion sickness. The drug has a depressant effect on the central nervous system. It is administered before surgery as a pre-anesthetic to impair the memory of surgical trauma.
So, while burundanga really exists and is, in fact, a powerful and potentially harmful drug, there is no evidence that “gentlemen” are approaching “ladies” at gas stations to hand off a poisoned card capable of rendering the victim helpless against an attack.
Circling back to the real Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, WUSA9 reported on August 11, 2017, that “Burundanga is not a listed drug of concern by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.”
Crisis averted. You’re welcome.