Australia’s airports were busy last week – and not just for leisure and business travellers. A 26-year-old Malaysian national was charged with attempting to import methamphetamine, suspended in champagne, through Perth International Airport.
He was due to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on Friday. Just days earlier, two Taiwanese nationals were due to face a Sydney court charged with importing approximately 11 kilograms of methamphetamine in their luggage.
While the attempts are not said to be linked, they indicate that such attempts are not uncommon at Australian airports. Just last week, a 31-year-old Brazilian man was arrested at Sydney Airport after allegedly attempting to import cocaine dissolved in bottles of rum.
The latest reported incident, in Perth, involved a man who arrived on a flight from Malaysia. Australian Border Force (ABF) examined his luggage and found two boxed 1.5-litre bottles of champagne. It appeared the seal on one of the boxes had been broken.
ABF officers conducted a presumptive test of the bottle’s contents, which gave a positive indication for methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.
Further testing will be undertaken to determine the exact weight and purity of the drugs seized.
The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who arrested the man and charged him with attempting to import a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to subsection 307.2(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.
On the other side of Australia, in the latest Sydney Airport incident, two Taiwanese nationals were due to face a Sydney court last week charged with importing approximately 11 kilograms of methamphetamine in their luggage.
The men, aged 22 and 21, arrived on a flight from Taiwan into Sydney on Monday 28 March. ABF officers examined their baggage and found a number of gift-wrapped boxes. These were opened and found to contain a white crystalline substance, which was presumptively tested and indicated a positive result for methamphetamine.
The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the men were subsequently charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
ABF Regional Commander NSW, Tim Fitzgerald, said the ABF is committed to stopping these dangerous substances from hitting Australia’s streets.
“The ABF officer’s initial questioning of the passengers, combined with the use of technology, has kept about 11 kilograms of ice off our streets,” Commander Fitzgerald said.
“Each and every day, ABF officers are actively working at our borders to protect the community by seizing illicit substances just like this.”
AFP Commander Chris Sheehan, State Manager NSW, said that agencies will use their combined efforts to target illicit drugs crossing our borders.
“The AFP and ABF work closely at the border in targeting syndicates attempting to import drugs into the country. Intelligence sharing arrangements between Australian and international law enforcement agencies enhance the role we play in preventing border controlled substances like these entering the country.”
“This interception means that approximately 110,000 hits of ice won’t be available – and that is a good result for the Australian community,” said Commander Sheehan.
The maximum penalty for the offences mentioned in this article is life imprisonment.
Written by Peter Needham