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Threatening "Date Rape" Chemical Seized by CBP at LAX

Release Date: 
August 11, 2011

Los Angeles - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at an air cargo consignment facility of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) seized three gallons of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), a strong intoxicant used as a precursor of Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) a Schedule I Controlled Substance.

The sale of GBL is illegal for any purpose other than intended industrial and legitimate applications. GBL is used in the production of paint thinners, pesticides, herbicides, ink, glue removers, and other products.

Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) container-seized at LAX by CBP Officers

Photo Credit:Courtesy of Customs and Border Protection

GBL is a clear, odorless liquid specially designated by U.S. Attorney General as list 1 chemical. The sale of GBL is illegal for any purpose other than intended industrial and legitimate applications. GBL is used in the production of paint thinners, pesticides, herbicides, ink, glue removers, and other products.

"This is a significant interception by our CBP officers at LAX. CBP is on the frontline at our nation's ports of entry targeting and stopping illegal shipments containing dangerous substances that threaten the health and safety of our nation's youth," said Todd C. Owen CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles.

The discovery was made after CBP officers examined a three gallon white plastic container arriving from China. Smugglers tried to disguise the shipment's content with a misleading invoice description of "Propylene Glycol." The estimated street value of this seizure is $1,414.

GHB is a synthetic depressant produced in clandestine labs. While available as a prescription for sleep disorders in some countries, GHB was banned in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration in 1990 because of the dangers associated with its use. It has been used by body builders to stimulate muscle growth.

In recent years it has become popular as a recreational drug among young adults at dance clubs and "raves". In certain doses, GHB can render a victim incapable of resisting advances, and is commonly referred to as a "date-rape" drug.

On a typical day in fiscal year 2010, CBP seized 25,209 pounds of drugs nationwide.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017