120L of drugs allegedly disguised as fishing gear, skincare

 

A Gold Coast man could be hit with a life sentence if found guilty of importing approximately $450,000 of liquid drugs police say he disguised as cleaning supplies, skincare products and fishing gear.

The 37-year-old Clear Island Waters man is accused of importing 120L of the clear liquid substance of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) - commonly referred to as liquid fantasy.

Australian Border Force (ABF) began investigations in November last year, after examining several air cargo consignments filled with plastic bottles - the substance inside those bottles later tested positive to GBL.

Drugs located in air cargo. Picture: Australian Federal Police.
Drugs located in air cargo. Picture: Australian Federal Police.

In a joint investigation, the Australian Federal Police and Queensland Police Service yesterday arrested and charged the man with six counts of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

GBL, often used as an industrial chemical solvent found in paint strippers, is a highly-addictive drug.

The result of the substance can cause users to slip into comas, or may in some cases result in death.

As such, the maximum penalty for the offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code is life imprisonment.

 

Liquid Fantasy disguised as cleaning products, skincare and fishing gear. Picture: Australian Federal Police.
Liquid Fantasy disguised as cleaning products, skincare and fishing gear. Picture: Australian Federal Police.

Investigations into the importation remain ongoing, while AFP Detective Acting Inspector Scott Curtis said authorities will go hard on anyone attempting to make a profit by putting lives at risk.

"Our investigations into who is behind this importation are just getting started," he said.

"We will be targeting anyone trying to make money from putting the lives of Australians at risk."

Queensland Police Service's Detective Superintendent Colin Briggs from the Drug and Serious Crime Group said the arrest highlighted the effectiveness of strong law enforcement partnerships.

"This collaboration is critical to combating organised crime that crosses jurisdictions and in preventing harmful drugs from making their way into the community," he said.

ABF Commander Operations QLD, Chris Waters said the arrest was another great example of the high level of cooperation between Australian law enforcement agencies.

"These criminals tried to use multiple importations to circumvent the Australian border, but through our joint efforts we have been able to detect the drugs and effectively disrupt this syndicate," Commander Waters said.

"Our approach at the border is multi-layered, using highly trained officers and state of the art technology. My message to those who think they can import these harmful substances is, we will catch them and they will face the full force of the law."

The man will front Southport Magistrates Court today on all six charges

 

Originally published as 120L of drugs allegedly disguised as fishing gear, skincare



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