Police seize two tonnes of deadly ‘date rape’ drug destined for Mardi Gras

A MAN has been charged with importing two tonnes of liquid ecstasy into Australia after border force officers allegedly found half a million hits of the drug hidden in a shipping container in Sydney.

It’s one of the country’s largest seizures of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), which is also commonly referred to as fantasy or ‘coma in a bottle’.

Investigators first became aware of the shipment from China after receiving a tip-off last week.


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During a closer examination of the shipping container, which contained 120 200-litre drums labelled as car washing shampoo, border force officers identified 10 drums that had a number of anomalies.

Presumptive testing of the liquid in the suspect drums returned a positive result for GBL – 2000 litres of it. Further forensic analysis will be conducted to determine the exact volume and purity of the liquid.

It is estimated the 10 drums of GBL equated to around 500,000 ‘hits’ and could have had a potential street value of up to $7 million.

(Source: Supplied/Australian Federal Police)

(Source: Supplied/Australian Federal Police)

When digested, the drug metabolises into gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in the body and is known to cause rapid loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory difficulties, coma, and even death.

Police said sexual predators are known to use the drug, which is both odourless and colourless, to spike their victims’ drinks before raping them.

Following investigations, Federal Police today raided a number of properties across Sydney, including at Warwick Farm, Marrickville, Moorebank and Lewisham.

A 30-year-old man was arrested during the operation and has since been charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled substance.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

The man was scheduled to face Liverpool Court later today.

(Source: Supplied/Australian Federal Police)

AFP Commander Chris Sheehan said while some people believed GBL was a harmless “party drug”, the realities were much more dangerous.

“GBL kills people,” Commander Sheehan said. “It is a corrosive industrial solvent that can be used for stripping paint and a range of other industrial applications.”

“It has been known to induce rapid unconscious and it has a reputation for being used to spike drinks to provide sexual predators with the opp to commit sexual assaults, like so called date rapes.

“When mixed with alcohol or other substances, small doses have been known to cause death.

“It is vital we continue to work with our partners at the border to stop any dangerous drug that can contribute to these sorts of crimes in our community.”

(Source: Supplied/Australian Federal Police)

(Source: Supplied/Australian Federal Police)

Commander Sheehan said the shipment was most likely destined to be sold to festival goers at this years Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.

“Our assessment is that this shipment was most likely an opportunistic one and destined to target the anticipated surge and demand associated with the upcoming Mardi Gras,” he said.

Australian Border Force Regional Commander for NSW Tim Fitzgerald, said the detection again shows the effectiveness of Australia’s border and law enforcement agencies working together.

“From just a small piece of information received, investigators from the ABF and AFP were able to stop a significant amount of dangerous chemicals reaching the community and we now have a person before the courts,” Regional Commander Fitzgerald said.

“This detection is a direct result of the expertise and capability of ABF officers in identifying a high risk shipment and the method used to conceal this extremely dangerous drug”

Investigations into the importation are ongoing, and further arrests have not been ruled out.

Anyone with information about the importation of illicit drugs is encouraged to contact Border Watch by visiting www.homeaffairs.gov.au/borderwatch. You can provide information anonymously.

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