The following  story was reported in the Reno Gazette by Jaclyn O’Malley.

Apparently there’s a chemical used as a cleaner that metabolizes to GHB once ingested.   Gamma  buyrolactone or GBL is precursor of GHB.  In 2009 a  35-year-old Reno man pleaded not guilty last week to a federal indictment accusing him of importing from Poland the liquid metabolite to the drug GHB, which is a “party drug” also known as the “date rape drug.”

Wednesday, a federal grand jury in Reno indicted David R. Sterling on one count of importation of a controlled substance. He is accused of knowingly importing more than one liter of a mixture that contained Gamma Butyrolactone, known as GBL. When GBL metabolizes, it turns into GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), which causes extreme drowsiness, and sometimes renders people comatose. It has a reputation as the “date rape drug” because several people have been sexually assaulted after unknowingly being slipped the drug. It is also hard to detect in toxicology screens. During his arraignment Thursday in federal court in Reno, Sterling was scheduled an October trial and released on his own recognizance. Sterling was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents Thursday after they earlier had delivered a package to him at his South Reno home from a Poland company that was labeled “wheel cleaner.” According to court records, the “wheel cleaner” was a bottle of nearly 1200 grams of GBL. The sale of GBL is not illegal in Poland, but it is a federal offense to import the drug into the U.S. Authorities accuse Sterling of ordering the GBL online at a cost of nearly $500. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, GBL was never intended for human consumption, and can lead to death. Years ago, GBL was classified as a controlled substance. Records show that on four occasions between May 2008 and June 26, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized packages to Sterling from Poland at a New York airport, and all contained nearly 1200 grams of GBL. The first three times, they sent him a notice that said their seizure of the packages were based on unlawful importation. Last month, ICE agents delivered the June package to his home. After Sterling accepted it, they served search warrants on his home, 2008 Lexus and 2002 Dodge Truck. Authorities said that his home in the 8000 block of Dixon Lane was so dirty and unsafe for children, social workers removed his young son and placed him in emergency foster care. According to the affidavit against Sterling, an ICE agent said that due to the increasing penalties associated with GHB, it’s become more difficult to obtain. The distribution and abuse of the drug’s metabolites, like GBL, have been an increasing concern, the agent said. These metabolites are also sold illicitly as supplements for body building, fat loss, anti-aging and insomnia. On the street, GBL is sold as “fish tank cleaner,” “ink stain remover,” “ink cartridge cleaner” and “nail enamel removal,” documents said.

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