Media Release: Backpacker arrested for importing cocaine

Release Date: Monday, November 26 2012, 04:03 PM

A 29-year-old Portuguese man is scheduled to appear in Sydney Central Local Court today after being charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) with importing approximately three kilograms of cocaine into Australia.

On 25 November, the man arrived at Sydney International Airport on a flight from Chile, and was destined for Bondi Beach.

Customs and Border Protection officers stopped the Portuguese national and examined his two suitcases.

Following an x-ray of the man’s bags, officers made a small incision in the hard plastic lining of one suitcase, revealing white powder. Initial testing of the powder returned a positive result for cocaine.

Customs and Border Protection officers referred the detection to the AFP and the man was charged with importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drug, namely cocaine contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act (Cth) 1995.

Customs and Border Protection National Manager, Airport Operations North, Craig Sommerville praised officers from both agencies for preventing illicit drugs from reaching Australian streets.

“These drugs have the potential to cause undue harm to the Australian community, and this seizure demonstrates the effectiveness of our officers in protecting the Australian community”.

AFP Acting National Manager Aviation David Bachi said the size of this seizure and the amount of damage it could have potentially caused cannot be understated.

"The AFP will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to stop the importation of drugs through our airports,” Commander Bachi said.

“This detection has kept these harmful drugs off the streets of Sydney.”

The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.
Further forensic testing will be undertaken to confirm the exact weight and purity of the substance.

Media enquiries:
Customs and Border Protection Media (02) 6275 6793
Australian Federal Police Media (02) 6131 6333