Customs officials in Philadelphia this week announced the seizure of an illegal shipment of gamma butyrolactone, an industrial chemical used to manufacture date-rape drugs. A similar bust last year (pictured) netted 10 bottles of the liquid. Photo Courtesy Customs and Protection/Twitter
April 27 (UPI) -- Federal Customs officials in Philadelphia say they intercepted a shipment of six gallons of gamma butyrolactone, an industrial chemical frequently used by sexual predators as a date-rape drug.
Customs and Border Protection officers said Wednesday the solvent -- contained in a pair of clear-plastic jugs -- was on its way from France to the Tampa, Fla., area when it was intercepted at the Port of Philadelphia.
Gamma butyrolactone, or GBL, is a Drug Enforcement Agency Schedule 1 controlled substance. It is a commonly used industrial chemical intermediate and solvent, which is found in paint removers, cleaners, adhesives and nail polish removers, according to the Department of Justice.
However, it is often abused as a substitute or a precursor for the dangerous gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GBH, due to its intoxicating effects. GBL/GHB is abused by sexual predators as a date-rape drug, and by bodybuilders to increase growth hormones.
Because of its effects, GBL is known on the streets as liquid ecstasy and "coma in a bottle."
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the recent bust, officials said.
"Customs and Border Protection will continue to use our border security authority to search suspect international parcels and intercept dangerous products that could seriously harm American citizens," acting CBP port director Rene Ortega said in a statement. "This is a mission and responsibility that we take very seriously."