GBL Street Drugs Worth $635K Found in Self Storage Raid

Posted by Admin on Aug 2, 2023 12:00:00 AM

The tenant accused of using Big Yellow Self Storage and Safestore units in London to stash illegal substances valued at more than £500K (approximately $635K) is now on trial. Businessman Afshin Alikhani, 42, is said to have imported hundreds of liters (about 180 gallons) of Gamma-butyrolactone (street name GBL) into the UK from a Dutch supplier. GBL, sometimes called “coma in a bottle” or “G-water,” was originally manufactured as a pain killer. Today, it is now being used recreationally and illegally to produce a high. The drug has been known to lead to violent spasms in people, and it is easy to overdose on.

Alikhani, a director of AP Import Export Limited with an address in Cardiff, Wales, admits importing GBL and storing it. The defense is arguing that Alikhani did not realize the drug was illegal and believed that it was a cleaning product.

Prosecutor Richard Reynolds said: “This is about the drug trade, particularly the trade in drugs known for chemsex which is normally sex parties that go on. The drugs are used to advance the abilities of people to take part in those parties.”

Discovery of the Drugs

A French border official discovered a box of GBL bottles destined for one of the storage unit in north London in April 2020. More parcels containing bottles of drugs were stopped at Birmingham Airport by Border Force in October of that year. When police raided Alikhani’s Big Yellow storage unit, 268 liters (~70 gallons) of GBL was recovered along with more than £30K in cash. The day after the raid, an additional 90 liters (~23 gallons) of GBL was delivered to the storage unit and instantly seized. Police also followed a trail to Safestore, uncovering another 90 liters of GBL and traces of crystal meth.

Alikhani was arrested in November 2020 when more bottles of GBL were found in his Honda Civic car along with a package of crystal meth discovered in a tool box in the vehicle. Alikhani claims he believed the crystal meth to be an antihistamine, and that the £30K was “from a Covid Bounce Back loan provided by the government.”

Jurors have been shown WhatsApp messages from an iPhone said to belong to Alikhani, allegedly displaying the mechanics of the drugs trade. Retired Met Police detective Mark Wright highlighted one message with a request for “G water,” saying “[This] clearly shows that the meeting took place and the handover of drugs was successful.”

Wright says, “GBL is … a horrible drug. If you take it yourself and you are unaware or don’t know the dosage, you are likely to put yourself unconscious or into a coma.”

Alikhani is accused of supplying class A drugs, possession of class A drugs, possession of class C drugs, possession of class C drugs with intent to supply, fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of goods, and possession of criminal property.

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