Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Police warning after date rape drug hidden in body oils, face masks and food items seized

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun6,2024
Key Points
  • Police have stopped the illegal importation of 4200 litres of butanediol – commonly known as “bute”.
  • The drug, an industrial chemical typically used to produce plastics, was “extremely dangerous”.
  • Authorities said the imports originate from the Asian market, with the “majority of larger quantities from China”.
Benign-looking beauty products and food items have been used to smuggle thousands of litres of a dangerous date-rape drug into the country in the months after import restrictions were tightened.

Authorities have stopped the illegal importation of 4,200 litres of butanediol — commonly known as “bute” — in the three months since laws were changed to make it a border-controlled drug.

What happens after you take the drug?

When consumed, the drug is metabolised into gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which slows down the brain’s messaging to the body.

Australian Federal Police commander Kate Ferry said the drug, which is an industrial chemical typically used to produce plastics, was “extremely dangerous and damaging to humans”.

‘Predominantly’ used in date rape cases

It was difficult to quantify the frequency of its use in sexual assaults because it presented as GHB when subsequently tested, she said.

“But anecdotal evidence from state and territory law enforcement agencies is this is coming up and has been since about 2020 as predominantly used in date-rape cases,” Ferry said on Thursday.

“So it’s significant enough for the commonwealth government to make that legislation change and put it at the height of the most serious drugs in Australia.”

Can the drug be imported legally?

Australian Border Force officials detected 180 litres of bute that had been imported from China in bottles labelled as body oil on 7 March.
That led the AFP to search warehouses in the Sydney suburbs of Fairfield and Lidcombe, where they found around 1400 litres in total.
Another haul led to 960 litres imported to Sydney from China being found in bottles labelled as essential oils.
The drug can be imported legally, but only with the correct permits.
Australian Border Force acting commander Asha Patwardhan said shipments of the drug were being found on a near-daily basis, often concealed in beauty products such as body oils and face masks, as well as in food and cooking products.
“Typically we are seeing the imports originate from the Asian market, with the majority of larger quantities from China,” she said.

“Our officers are observing individuals and criminal syndicates attempting to import bute in concerning volumes,” she said.

What does the law say?

Ferry said women in particular should be cautious about who had access to their drinks, but she added the agencies’ work was designed to take the onus off potential victims.

“Australian women are a little tired of being told what to do in terms of being safe for themselves,” she said.
“We’re here today saying this is a whole of Australia problem, what the AFP and the ABF will do is actually target these people who are bringing this drug in, in the first place, that ends up in women’s drinks leading to harrowing consequences for them.”

Importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *