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Contraband
06/02/2011

California man indicted for illegally importing chemical used to make 'date rape' drug

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Fairfield, Calif., man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally importing Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), a chemical used to produce the so-called "date rape" drug that produces many of the same effects.

Robert Mathew Harper, 27, is charged with four criminal counts and the indictment also includes an allegation seeking to forfeit all proceeds and assets used to facilitate the drug importing crimes alleged. The case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the Solano County Probation Office.

According to the indictment, Harper imported GBL for human consumption from Poland into the United States on three occasions: in May 2010, August 2010, and in January of this year. Harper also imported GBL for human consumption from Thailand into the United States in April.

According to court documents, GBL is a strong commercial solvent which serves as a precursor chemical for the manufacture of Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as the "date rape" drug. When ingested by itself, GBL produces many of the same effects as the "date rape" drug, including increased libido, sexual arousal, suggestibility, passivity, and amnesia-like symptoms that make individuals who unwittingly consume drinks adulterated with the chemical vulnerable to sexual assaults and other criminal acts. GBL is also widely abused in the rave and night club scene because users experience a sense of euphoria. GBL can produce dangerous side effects, such as vomiting, incontinence, loss of consciousness, seizures, liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory depression and death. In addition, GBL is also physically addictive, frequently producing severe withdrawal symptoms when its use is discontinued.

If convicted, Harper faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.