A Gold Coast man has been charged with importing 120 litres of the drug GBL, worth about $450,000, hidden in bottles labelled as cleaning supplies, skincare products and fishing gear.
The 37-year-old will face Southport Magistrates Court on Thursday after being arrested by Australian Federal Police and Queensland officers after a two month investigation.
The Australian Border Force first became suspicious in November about the plastic bottles in air cargo shipments to Sydney and Melbourne.
Tests of the clear liquid inside the bottles came back positive for GHB procursor Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), which means that it can metabolise into the drug GHB inside people's bodies after being ingested.
"GBL is a dangerous substance, normally an industrial chemical solvent found in paint strippers. It is highly-addictive and can result in users slipping into comas, or even death," AFP Detective Acting Inspector Scott Curtis said in a statement.
The man has been charged with six counts of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug under federal laws and faces life imprisonment if found guilty.
ABF Commander Operations of Queensland Chris Waters said the syndicate tried to use multiple shipments to get the drugs through the border, but cooperation between agencies had disrupted their operation.
"My message to those who think they can import these harmful substances is, we will catch them and they will face the full force of the law," he said in a statement.