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Parcel from China leads to drug charges

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It cost Michael Garbacz 25 cents to get arrested.

But it may cost a lot more to get out of custody.

Garbacz was arrested in the parking lot of a motel in the 13000 block of Central NE last week and charged with possession and importation of a controlled substance that had been tucked into a mailed package.

Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen denied release to a halfway house after finding him a flight risk and he remains in federal custody.

According to a court document filed in the case, inspectors at the San Francisco International Airport Mail Center X-rayed, opened and examined a mail parcel from China on Aug. 6 found to contain a brown, liquid, mystery substance. The package was addressed to Garbacz in Albuquerque.

Using an infrared spectrometer, Customs and Border Protection personnel analyzed it and found it to be 3 pounds of gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL.

GBL is used as a stain and superglue remover, paint stripper and solvent, and permission is required to import it from China, where it is made. It is a precursor to GHB, a Schedule I drug regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration that is illegally used as an intoxicant to create a hypnotic effect.

Agents in Albuquerque verified that Garbacz was the sole occupant of the motel room and that he was not an authorized importer.

When they arrived at the motel, Garbacz was working on his car in the parking lot, and a postal inspector gave him the package, telling him there was 25 cents postage due.

He handed over the quarter, put the package in his car and was arrested and charged.

In an interview after he was given his Miranda rights, he allegedly said he knew the substance was illegal.

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