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Cincinnati Officers Seize 120 Pounds of Liquid GBL

Release Date: 
September 9, 2015

CINCINNATI— U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at the Cincinnati express-consignment facility recently seized a shipment containing 120 pounds of a restricted substance known as GBL, or gamma-butyrolactone. The shipment was coming from China and destined to an individual in Ontario, Canada.

“Our CBP Officers and Agriculture Specialists excel at what they do, specifically in the express consignment arena,” said Eugene Matho, Assistant Area Port Director for the Cleveland Area Port. “Day after day, these men and women work diligently to screen hundreds of thousands of international shipments entering the United States, and day after day they make a significant difference by intercepting dangerous and illegal contraband and controlled substances. I’m very proud of their accomplishments.”

GBL (pictured) is a clear, odorless, and near-tasteless liquid that has a high potential for overdose and addiction.

GBL is a clear, odorless, and near-tasteless liquid that has a high potential for overdose and addiction.

GBL is a clear, odorless, and near-tasteless liquid that has a high potential for overdose and addiction. An industrial solvent, it is legally used in the production and use of cleaners, paint thinners, glue removers, chemical reagents, elastic fibers, and pesticides, among other products. Additionally, GBL is used illegally as a bodybuilding supplement, a recreational drug, and to combat aging, depression, alcoholism, and insomnia.

Once ingested, GBL quickly converts to GHB, the chemical most notoriously associated with drug-facilitated sexual assault because it renders its victims unconscious and incapable of remembering past events. GBL has similar side effects to GHB, such as euphoria, delirium, nausea, tachycardia, amnesia, psychosis, seizures, coma, and death. It is designated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a List 1 chemical.

Since April, CBP has seized 82 gallons—more than 680 pounds—of illegally imported GBL at the Cincinnati express-consignment facility. The packages are usually imported from China, and are destined throughout the United States and other countries. Seized shipments vary in size, ranging from small parcels of a single bottle of liquid, to large shipments containing gallons in plastic containers.

On a typical day in Fiscal Year 2014, CBP seized 10,327 pounds of drugs while conducting operations nationwide. CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017