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24 March 2024, 8:46am
Media Release

Man charged over brazen 20kg meth import at Sydney Airport

Editor’s note: Images of the seizure available via Hightail

A Taiwanese national has been charged for allegedly importing more than 20kg of methamphetamine concealed in wine bottles and herbal tea in his carry-on luggage.

The man, 27, was questioned by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Sydney International Airport after he arrived on a flight from Thailand on Tuesday (19 March 2024).

ABF officers examined the man’s luggage – which included a carry-on bag and checked-in suitcase – and allegedly found methamphetamine concealed in wine bottles, herbal tea and bath salts. The estimated weight of the packages allegedly containing methamphetamine was 21.2kg.

The AFP was called and arrested the man, who was recorded as travelling to Australia for a five-day visit.

He was later charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The man appeared in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 20 March 2024 and was formally refused bail. He is expected to re-appear in the same court on 15 May 2024.

AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander Morgen Blunden said the AFP and its partners were committed to stamping out criminality in the airport environment, including by transnational drug syndicates.

"Despite all the risks involved, we are still arresting people attempting to bring illicit drugs into our country through our airports," he said.

"No matter how elaborate or creative the attempts are, the AFP and our partners are working tirelessly to prevent airports being used as part of the criminal supply chain.”

ABF Travel East Commander Rosemaree Cracknell said passengers who test their luck should know that Border Force officers are watching, ready to stop you in your tracks.

“Syndicates continue to come up with different ways to attempt to smuggle illicit drugs into Australia, with this example under the guise of legitimate food and alcohol products,” Commander Cracknell said.

“Our ABF officers are exceptionally skilled to identify and question travellers who may be attempting to import illicit substances into our country.

“Methamphetamine continues to destroy Australian families, the ABF will continue to work with our state and federal partners to stop this dangerous illicit drug from crossing the border.”

There are more than 500 AFP Airport Uniform Police across nine domestic airports. The AFP has detection dogs capable detecting explosives, cash, drugs, firearms and devices.

Some recent drug detections resulting in criminal charges include:

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