U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on December 6 that its officers seized a bottle of gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) that arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport in international mail from London on November 1.
The GBL was destined to an address in Philadelphia. An investigation continues.
CBP officers inspected a mail parcel manifested as “fuel injector cleaner” and discovered a labeled, 250 gram bottle of GBL. Officers used a Gemini handheld elemental isotype tool and confirmed the contents as GBL. GBL is a DEA Schedule 1 controlled substance in the United States, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
According to the DEA, GBL is a chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of the schedule I controlled substance gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). GBL is an odorless, colorless, central nervous system depressant that has addictive properties and potentially severe health consequences. Sexual predators have used GHB and GBL as a date-rape drug.
“This seizure is a perfect example of how Customs and Border Protection officers rely on extraordinary experience and keen intuition to intercept a mismanifested and dangerous substance that could potentially harm American citizens,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.
The Gemini device is capable of identifying over 14,000 different substances including industrial chemicals, bomb-making materials and narcotics. The Gemini protects CBP officers by using a laser or infrared beam to identify potentially harmful substances.
The Gemini device enhances CBP officer and K9 safety by allowing officers to more accurately, and more importantly, to quickly identify potentially dangerous substances, such as fentanyl, before officers and K9s are exposed to the substance.