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Three gallons of 'date-rape' drug ingredient seized at LAX

August 10, 2011 |  1:00 pm

Date rape drug chemical seized at LAXThis post has been corrected. Please see the note at the bottom for details.

Three gallons of a chemical used in making a dangerous "date-rape" drug were seized at an air cargo facility at Los Angeles International Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced Wednesday.

Authorities said they seized gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), an intoxicant used as a precursor in the manufacture of gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), more commonly known as the date-rape drug.

The seized chemical is a clear, odorless liquid that is illegal for any purpose other than legitimate applications, which include in paint thinners, pesticides, ink, glue removers and other products.

Federal authorities called it a "significant interception." The customs agency 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, the agency's director of field operations in Los Angeles.

Officers made the discovery after examining a three-gallon container smuggled in from China. It had been disguised using a misleading invoice, authorities said.

GHB is made in clandestine labs and has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

[For the record, 2:05 p.m. Aug. 10: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.]

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-- Kimi Yoshino

Photo: The date-rape chemicals were smuggled in a three-gallon container from China, disguised using a misleading invoice, authorities said. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

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