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Five tonnes of drugs missing in Victoria

AAP logoAAP 6/10/2016 Jacqueline Le

Five tonnes of a chemical that becomes GHB when ingested are still missing in Melbourne despite police nabbing the alleged mastermind of a large drug trafficking ring.

Saer Obian, 22, is accused of using a cleaning company as a front to import more than 17,000 kilograms of 1,4-butanediol, an industrial solvent that, when ingested, becomes GHB.

He appeared in the Victorian Supreme Court on Thursday charged with seven trafficking and possession offences.

It is not illegal to import 1,4-butanediol for industrial use, but police say Obian's company, SAA Cleaning, does not have many cleaning contracts.

The chemicals were sent to Australia from China in September 2015, prompting a police investigation that resulted in Obian and eight other people being charged with drug trafficking in June.

Police raided several properties and seized 6000 ecstasy tablets, 15 kilograms of cannabis, 10,000 MDMA tablets, along with steel drums containing 1,4-butanediol.

Bottles of the chemical, which had allegedly been prepared for further sale, were also seized.

Not all of the 1,4-butanediol has been recovered.

"Five metric tonnes are still unaccounted for," said Justice Lex Lasry.

He refused bail for Obian, who defence said would likely spend more than a year in custody until his trial in 2018.

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