U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized six gallons of a dangerous drug known as “coma in a bottle” as it passed through Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The drug in question is gamma butyrolactone (GBL), a Schedule 1 controlled substance with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). GBL is an industrial chemical solvent that can be used as a chemical precursor to gamma–hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). GHB can have numerous effects, including “respiratory distress, coma, and death,” according to the CBP press release.
The GBL was spread across two clear plastic jugs from France bound for a Hillsborough County address in Florida. CBP officers were able to specifically identify the liquid with an opaque texture as GBL using an elemental isotope analysis tool.
“Coma in a bottle” is a slang term for GBL, which can be used legally to strip paint and rust. However, it is also a major component in date–rape drugs.
Rene Ortega, the Philadelphia Acting Area Port Director for the CBP, said in the press release that the agency “will continue to use our border security authority to search suspect international parcels and intercept dangerous products that could seriously harm American citizens.”
Philadelphia in 2019 saw one of the most significant drug seizures in American history when a cocaine load with a street value of $1 billion was found aboard the MSC Gayane, a container ship docked in the city. Goran Gogic, a former heavyweight boxer, was charged in October 2022 in relation to the seizure.
The seizure of GBL in Philadelphia serves as a reminder of the importance of border security. Without proper border security, dangerous drugs like GBL can easily enter the country and cause serious harm to citizens. The CBP is doing an admirable job of intercepting these dangerous drugs and preventing them from entering the country.