Australian Border Force (Customs) officers identified around 13 kgs of pseudoephedrine in a 35yr old mans luggage at Melbourne Intl Airport and has since been arrested and charged. The man was arriving from Vietnam on 22nd Aug 2019 and was selected for a baggage examination, during which several packages were located identified as food products.
Officers discovered a white crystalline substance upon opening the packages, which was later identified as pseudoephedrine – a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of “ice”.
The man was arrested and charged for importation of a commercial quantity of a controlled precursor contrary to division 307.11 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
On 23rd Aug he appeared in Melbourne magistrate’s court and was refused bail, to re-appear on 15th Nov in the same court.
Victorian Customs Regional Commander, Craig Palmer, said the detection was a great example of the dedicated work Customs officers undertake at our borders each and every day.
“This detection demonstrates Customs officers at international airports have the skills and technology to identify travellers and baggage that present a risk to the Australian border,” Commander Palmer stated.
“We know the significant damage “ice” is having on communities around the country, and our officers at the border are committed to stopping drugs and precursors used to manufacture them reaching our kids and destroying families and communities.”
“Those involved in the illicit drug trade should be warned, Customs has a strong presence at the Border and you will be targeted.”
The man was not found as being in connection with any customs clearance brokers in Melbourne to aid in the facilitation of his attempted border security evasion.
Anyone with information about the importation of illegal drugs and precursors can contact Customs Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. Information can be provided anonymously.
NSW Police charged a man for the importation of MDMA that was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) Detector Dog Unit officers in a parcel from Spain on Saturday 18th Aug 2019.
Officers inspected and x-rayed the consignment, which was found to contain various coloured plastic bracelets. They also located some 500 tablets in the consignment, which were subject to further examination and initial testing identified positive results for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or “MDMA”.
The matter was referred to police from St George Proactive Crime Team with the assistance of the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad. Following further inquiries, investigators being executed a search warrant at an apartment on Brodie Spark Drive, Wolli Creek, just before midday on Wednesday 21st Aug 2019.
During the search, police seized an additional 62g grams of MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, synthetic drugs, drug paraphernalia consistent with supply, cannabis cultivation equipment, postal packaging, a laptop, mobile phones, and documentation.
The street value of the seized illicit drugs is approximately $75,000. A 23-year-old man was arrested at the location and taken to Kogarah Police Station.
Customs clearance brokers in Sydney were not identified as being associated with this importation.
He was charged with four counts of possess prohibited drug, importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and two counts of supplying prohibited drug.
Australian Border Force (ABF) tracked a sea cargo consignment from the United Kingdom on suspicion of illicit drugs. They conducted further examinations at the Sydney Container Examination Facility (CEF) and seized 91 kg of MDMA and 3 kg of ice.
Investigating anomalies noted during x-ray of the caravan, the ABF Detector Dog Unit was put to use. This also indicated presence of illicit drugs in the caravan.
On deconstructing the caravan, officers found drugs hidden within three cavities, with an estimated $5 million in street value. Following this, AFP investigators conducted a controlled delivery. After removing the drugs, they allowed the caravan to continue to its destination.
Two men who were awaiting the caravan’s arrival in St Ives, Sydney where arrested by the Police. Two men were charged for attempting to smuggle 91kg of MDMA and 3kg of ice into Australia, hidden in a caravan shipped from the UK. Even though services of a customs broker located in Sydney may have been used, no details are available.
Gerard Fletcher, AFP Detective Superintendent said this operation clearly shows the importance of the AFP and ABF working together to stop drugs and other harmful substances reaching the Australians. He also hoped the operation send a message: if you’re thinking of buying, selling or transporting illicit drugs, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Danielle Yannopoulos, ABF Regional Commander NSW was of the opinion that this detection is yet another example of effectiveness of ABF’s targeted, multi-layered approach to protecting the border and the Australian community. Explaining the process he said “After successfully identifying this as a shipment of interest, we’ve used our cutting-edge x-ray technology and world-class detector dogs to locate a significant amount of dangerous drugs before they could reach the community,”
Charges leveled against these two men are on two counts. For importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug – one for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and another for methamphetamine. Maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
Eight people were arrested in Sydney and one in Dubai for conspiring to illegally import drugs and tobacco into Australia. This is part of the JOCGs efforts to eliminate high-level organised crime syndicates
The Joint Organised Crime Group-JOCG is a joint action group with members from Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC).
Operation Astatine focused on a NSW-based criminal network involved in drug trafficking and tobacco smuggling. This group is alleged to be behind the conspiracy to import 200 kilograms of MDMA via sea cargo and smuggling 50 million cigarettes into Australia. This group is also reported to be engaged in money laundering activities.
In a controlled delivery to an address in Rosebery, 52-year-old Queensland man was arrested for allegedly transporting and accessing the substance. JOCG seized 80 kilograms of cocaine at an address in Rosebery. Though there has been detailed reporting of the operation, involvement of any Sydney based customs broker is not known.
Agencies such as The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), AFP and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection also conducted a parallel investigation – codenamed Operation Zeus. An ABF officer was charged for assisting the syndicate avoid law enforcement detection. A former Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officer has also been charged for the same offence.
Success of the exercise was due to the successful cooperation of UAE Ministry of Justice, the Dubai Public Prosecution Office, Dubai Police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Added to this was the domestic expertise of AUSTRAC, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).
Head of this syndicate, a 47-year-old man from NSW was arrested in the United Arab Emirates by the Dubai police anti-narcotics department, assisted by AFP and NSWPF detectives.
According to Stephen Dametto, AFP Coordinator Organised Crime and Cyber, organised crime has become a global business and a high degree of sophistication and collaboration with multi country agencies is required to combat these groups.
In a joint operation of the Australian Border Force (ABF) and New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) 300kg of ephedrine hidden in 50 individual consignments were seized. Ephedrine was concealed in a very highly sophisticated manner in vehicle radiators, tool boxes, wall hangings and portable coolers. This was unearthed in raids on ten homes across Sydney.
During the course of the raids the team also came across nine unlawful non-citizens who were detained.
Australian Border Force (ABF) started working on links to an organised criminal network of Chinese nationals operating in the south western suburbs of Sydney. This investigation resulted in identifying multiple imports of ephedrine from China.
Further, the criminal network of Chinese nationals was found to be responsible for importing more than 300 kilograms of ephedrine. The ephedrine was concealed within 50 individual consignments intercepted by the ABF between March 2016 and February 2017. Involvement of any Sydney based customs broker in not acknowledged.
This also happens to be the largest ephedrine seizure since the ABF was stood up in 2015. The 300 kilograms of ephedrine can be converted to 240 kilograms of ice. The street value of 240 kilograms of ice is estimated to be $240 million.
Search and seizure warrants at ten premises by ABF officers and NSWPF Drug Squad resulted in the arrest of two men from Campsie, aged 29 and 26. They were charged with importing a Tier 1 good, namely ephedrine, in contravention of Section 307.11 of the Criminal Code.
The 26-year-old, who was an unlawful non-citizen, was bailed and taken into immigration detention. His accomplice the 29-year-old was remanded in custody. For the offences charged, the maximum penalty can be 25 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $900,000.
Tim Fitzgerald ABF Regional Commander NSW gave credit for the success of operation to very effective close cooperation between law enforcement agencies at all levels.
In a joint operation, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) tracked a consignment of mining equipment which came from South Africa to Melbourne. The team seized approximately 254kg of cocaine and 104kg of methyl-amphetamine.
Both drugs put together has an estimated combined value in excess of $186 million. In this connection four men have been arrested in Sydney and Melbourne.
Anomalies were noticed in X-ray images within an iron ore extractor of a consignment of industrial mining equipment. This was detected by ABF officers at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility. Physical examination of the iron ore extractor by ABF officers led to the discovery of 358 1kg block packages of cocaine and methyl-amphetamine. This was concealed in a load of activated charcoal within the mining equipment.
From Melbourne to a storage facility in Sydney, AFP commenced a controlled delivery. Subsequently in Sydney three men were arrested after accessing the consignment. In additional search warrants which followed on the Central Coast of NSW, AFP officers seized cash in a compressed block of AUD$100 notes. It is not known if any Sydney customs broker was involved in the processing of the documents.
The men arrested were charged under following provisions of law. Attempt to import commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.1 (1), by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). Attempt to possess commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.5(1) by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).These offences can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
This successful operation is an example of the capabilities of ABF to detect even the most sophisticated concealment. The upgraded container x-ray technology has been able to penetrate through several layers of steel, machinery and coal, stones to identify these concealed packages. This is also an example of the successful cooperation between Australia’s border and law enforcement agencies.
In a major multi-agency operation, six men were arrested in Melbourne and Queensland. This has resulted in exposing two criminal syndicates working together to import and distribute cocaine in Australia.
Australian Border Force’s (ABF) Maritime Border Command intercepted and boarded a 50-meter commercial vessel after its suspicious movements were spotted during a routine aerial patrol. Maritime Border Command, a multi-agency Taskforce within the ABF has been monitoring the vessel for quiet some time.
On examination by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), ABF and Tasmania Police at the Port of Hobart, approximately 186 kilograms of cocaine was seized. Estimated street value of the cocaine seized is $60.45 million. In this connection, ten foreign nationals were charged with attempting to import commercial quantity of a border controlled drug. Since this is a smuggling operation using marine vessels there is very little chance of involvement of any Sydney based customs broker.
Fifteen search warrants across Melbourne and Queensland were executed by Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) comprised of AFP, Victoria Police, ABF and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). They were assisted by Queensland JOCTF, comprised of the AFP, the Queensland Police Service, ABF and ACIC.
Following this six Australian nationals were charged for their role in this attempted importation. The task force also seized drug manufacturing equipment $93,000 in cash. The investigation team allege that the men arrested were planning to transport cocaine to Australia for distribution to multiple drug trafficking syndicates across Australia.
Task force on crime will continue with investigations on these drug syndicates. This is done with the active cooperation and support of international law enforcement partners. Success rate of these operations is an example of dedication of officers involved effective cooperation between Australia’s law enforcement agencies at both a state and Commonwealth level.
Those arrested are charged with attempting to import a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). These charges can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Three Canadian nationals were arrested for drug importation charges from a Cruise Ship in Sydney. Approximately 95 kilograms of cocaine was seized from them.
The seizure and arrest was the result of a A joint operation between the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
On the vessel berthed in Sydney Harbour, ABF officers used detector dogs to search a number of passenger cabins on the ship. This resulted in the recovery of approximately 95 kilograms of cocaine. Cocaine was located concealed in suitcases.
On the basis of this seizure, AFP officers arrested three Canadian nationals, a 63-year-old man, a 28-year-old woman and a 23-year old woman. The three arrested were charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine. The offence can attract maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Involvement any Sydney based customs broker is not known.
Commenting on the success of this mission ABF Assistant Commissioner, Strategic Border Command, Clive Murray said that this was a good example of international cooperation leading to significant results in the fight against international drug syndicates.
The present successful operation has resulted in three arrests. ABF is committed to continue with investigations and working with partner agencies to protect the community. This will stop dangerous drugs making their way to Australian communities. This will also pave the way for bringing those responsible to justice.
There is growing concern on the role of international drug syndicates bringing in drugs to Australia. International drug syndicates use advanced techniques to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies. They also have infrastructure and manpower located in different parts of the world.
To counter this different law enforcement agencies in the country has to work together. Agencies based in different countries also need to cooperate and work together to make the fight against international drug syndicates successful.
Following a two-month investigation, the AFP arrested a 29-year-old Bexley North man allegedly importing 210 kg of methamphetamine. The material seized is estimated to have a street value of $210 million. AFP officers started investigations after an air freight consignment of 15 boxes arrived in Sydney from Taiwan, labelled as ‘women’s jeans’. Official agencies have not confirmed involvement of any Sydney customs broker in the documentation and processing of this consignment.
After noticing anomalies within 12 of the boxes Australian Border Force (ABF) officers conducted an examination of the consignment labelled as jeans. They found that there were plastic bags in the boxes containing a crystalline substance. On conducting mandatory testing, the crystalline substance tested positive to the presence of methamphetamine.
On the basis of these findings, the matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for further investigation and necessary action. Following this, required forensic examination as required by the law was conducted by AFP officers. Chemical analysis that followed confirmed the substance to be methamphetamine with an approximate weight of 210 kilograms.
The 29-year-old Bexley North man arrested was charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 301.1(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine. AFP also arrested a 24-year-old Blacktown man in connection to this investigation. Once convicted, the accused can get maximum penalty up to life imprisonment for this offence.
Roger Brown, AFP Manager Crime Operations said this investigation and subsequent action kept the drug from reaching the streets. The seized material could be converted to more than 2.1 million ‘hits’ of methamphetamine from reaching the community. This well planned investigation is an example of the commitment of law enforcement agencies to stop these drugs from ending up in Australia.
A joint investigation by Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers resulted in two people getting arrested in Sydney and Melbourne. They were booked for their alleged role in the importation of approximately 154 kilograms of methamphetamine.
After detecting anomalies in 14 of the 121 timber logs arrived in Sydney from Africa, a joint investigation led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) commenced investigations. Forensic examination by AFP officers that followed revealed approximately 154kgs of methamphetamine in total. AFP has not identified association any customs broker in this case.
According to national Institute on Drug Abuse, Methamphetamine – meth for short – is a very addictive stimulant drug. It is a powder that can be made into a pill or a shiny rock (called a crystal). The powder can be eaten or snorted up the nose. It can also be mixed with liquid and injected into your body with a needle. Crystal meth is smoked in a small glass pipe.
Meth at first causes a rush of good feelings, but then users feel edgy, overly excited, angry, or afraid. Meth use can quickly lead to addiction. It causes medical problems including making your body temperature so high that you pass out, Severe itching, “Meth mouth” – broken teeth and dry mouth and thinking and emotional problems.
According to Australian Federal Police, the 154 kilo of methamphetamine seized has an approximate street value of $115 million. Street value is calculated according to the Victorian median drug price for the specific drug as listed in the latest Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Illicit Drug Data Report. Final figure is arrived at by calculating the street value of the individual street dosage unit, purity and quantity of the seized drug.
On the basis of the findings of the investigation, the AFP conducted search warrants in Sydney and Melbourne. They arrested a 64-year-old Werrington man in Sydney and a 20-year-old Moonee Ponds man was arrested in Melbourne.