A 35-year-old San Francisco man was arrested by federal agents last week after allegedly trying to sell three gallons of a notorious club drug to an informant.
Zay Yar Sithu pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Thursday to a felony charge relating to the alleged sale of three gallon containers of GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid.
GHB became popular in the 1990s rave scene because of its euphoric effect. Originally developed as an anesthetic, it is also known as the “date rape” drug due to its ability to incapacitate sexual assault victims. It has additionally been blamed for fatal overdoses, and is considered especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested Sithu outside his Dolores Heights home Monday afternoon, according to an affidavit filed by DEA Special Agent Juan Medina.
Medina said a confidential informant approached Sithu, known as “Zane,” in the summer to set up a purchase of up to three gallons of GHB.
After making arrangements by phone, the informant met Sithu in a car outside his home, where Sithu showed him three gallons purported to be the drug and was arrested, Medina said.
In an interview after his arrest, Sithu admitted he bought the drug from a source for $4,800 per gallon and intended to sell it for $6,500 per gallon, according to Medina. Sithu told investigators he had “taste-tested” the drugs himself and confirmed it tasted like “chemicals,” Medina said.
Sithu was later charged with one count of use of a communication device in furtherance of drug trafficking, which carries a potential penalty of up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His attorney was not immediately available for comment Sunday.
In a separate incident in December, San Francisco police uncovered a methamphetamine lab at a Laurel Heights apartment that they said also contained large quantities of GHB. Five people were arrested in connection with that case.
The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office has investigated four deaths in The City since 2002 in which GHB was found to be possible contributing factor.