Police cast net on 'rape drug' operations in Italy

Massive stash of substances seized, 22 people arrested

Police cast net on 'rape drug' operations in Italy

(ANSA) - Milan, July 20 - Italian police on Friday arrested 22 people and seized 57,000 doses of 'rape drugs', so called because they wipe out the memory of people who can be sexually assaulted and then have no recollection of what happened. The value of the drugs seized is approximately €600,000, according to the police. They said 32 people, including the 22 arrested, were under investigation. The synthetic drug, GBL, is considered a growing threat, especially for young women who go to discos and nightclubs. It is odorless and flavorless and all it takes is one drop, diluted in water or a drink, for the victim to suffer temporary physical weakness and memory loss, allowing rapists a clean getaway. According to the police all of the people arrested were "above suspicion...lawyers, professionals, people from every walk of life," ranging in age from 16 to 37. The seized GBL was imported into Italy, where it is illegal, from the Netherlands, where possession is not a crime. The drugs were purchased on specialized internet sites, six of which have now been blocked, while delivery was via courier. Given its chemical composition, it easily gets past sniffer dogs at the border. The different legal regimes applied to GBL in Europe are a problem for law enforcement. In an effort to facilitate enforcement efforts, the European Commission has scheduled a meeting to update legal instruments available to combat new, synthetic drugs.

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