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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Man charged over importing ‘coma in a bottle’ drug

A West Australian man has been charged with importing 26 litres of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), an illicit substance commonly known as liquid ecstasy or ‘coma in a bottle’. 

The 32-year-old man is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today after being charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over the seized import.

Australian Border Force officers in Sydney allegedly found the drugs on September 7 when they examined an air freight consignment from Hong Kong, which was addressed to a residential property in Girrawheen, WA.

Testing of the liquid in the plastic bottles indicated the presence of GBL and the matter was referred to the AFP.

AFP officers executed a search warrant at the Girrawheen property on September 14, and charged the 32-year-old resident with importing commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs.

This offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. 

AFP Sergeant Chris Colley said GBL is an industrial chemical found in paint strippers and stain removers and is dangerous to ingest, even in tiny doses.

“GBL can cause severe side-effects, including convulsions, loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory difficulties, coma, and even death. There are cases of it being used to render people unconscious or unable to defend themselves to facilitate rapes and other sexual crimes,” he said.

Sergeant Colley said the drugs seized could have been sold as up to 26,000 street deals, worth approximately $78,000.

“We are working hard with our partners at the borders, locally and internationally, to stop any illicit substances from reaching our communities and causing harm.”

ABF Regional Commander for NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the seizure and arrests once again highlighted the outcomes that can be achieved working with law enforcement partners both internationally and within Australia. 

“ABF officers at our airports, sea ports and mail centres work tirelessly each day to protect the community, and this is another example of their skills, intuition and diligence stopping illicit substances from reaching Australian families and causing harm,” Commander Yannopoulos said.

“This operation should serve as a warning to those thinking of importing illicit substances – no matter how you try and move your drugs, the ABF, and our partner agencies, will be waiting.”

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