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ABF faces elephantine job as clients zip through airports

February 20, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Passing through Australian airports is faster than ever and automated technology lets travellers zip through Sydney Airport with minimum human intervention – while the Australian Border Force (ABF) deals with weirder, more bizarre and deadly challenges.

ABF officers last week made their second seizure of Carfentanil, a lethal drug used as an elephant tranquilliser and about 10,000 times as potent as morphine.

Carfentanil, so powerful it can kill a handler just by touch, was intercepted by border force officers at a Brisbane mail centre.

“I am advised that Carfentanil is a highly toxic and potent synthetic based drug, with a 0.002mg dose enough to kill a person,” Police Minister Mark Ryan said.

Carfentanil was previously intercepted in Sydney last year. It has sometimes been found overseas mixed, in very diluted form, with heroin.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, a joint operation between the ABF and Australian Federal Police (AFP) has resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of approximately AUD 162 million.

Two men, aged 42 and 22, have been charged with serious drug importation offences as a result of the operation, which police will allege has prevented more than 1.6 million street deals of meth from entering Australia.

On 2 February, a consignment arrived via sea cargo from Hong Kong into Sydney. An examination by ABF officers revealed 380 boxes of cooking equipment, including ladles and spoons packaged as displays for re-sale.

ABF officers detected anomalies in 142 boxes, and a number of vacuum-sealed bags were found, each containing approximately 285 grams of a white crystalline substance. The substance returned a positive result for methamphetamine, with a total approximate weight of 162 kilograms. Further forensic testing will occur to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.

The matter was referred to the AFP for further investigation, and after a controlled delivery, two men were arrested in connection with the importation last Thursday.

Edited by Peter Needham

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