Labs making date-rape drug raided

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The Independent Online

Police have raided more than 600 homes and businesses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in an attempt to smash an international drugs ring manufacturing and selling the date-rape drug known as "liquid ecstasy".

Officers launched simultaneous searches yesterday, following a lengthy investigation by detectives in Munich and the German city of Lüneburg. Raids were carried out at 50 addresses in Berlin alone.

Police said they had discovered several illicit laboratories where the drug was being manufactured: "In one case we had to bring in a lorry, there were so many barrels of the stuff that it was the only way we could take it away," said Christian Wacker, a police spokesman in Munich.

Yesterday's raids were believed to be the biggest police operation against the drug on record. Mr Wacker said two unnamed men from Munich and the German state of Lower Saxony were suspected of producing and distributing large quantities of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) – which is also known as the "get her to bed" drug.

The highly-addictive substance looks like water and is virtually tasteless. It starts to affect date-rape victims within 15 minutes.

In Germany, several people have died after consuming GHB. Ludwig Waldinger, from the Munich police, said yesterday: "The drug is often put into girls' drinks in discos. After they have taken a dose they remain conscious but lose their will to resist and can easily succumb to rape. They don't remember what has happened afterwards."

The two men are suspected of selling the drugs via the internet to customers outside the countries where the raids were conducted.

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