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NSW man charged over failed dark web drug imports

29 August 2023, 3:01pm
Media Release

NSW man charged over failed dark web drug imports

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force.

Editor’s note: Vision, images and audio grabs from AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis available via Hightail.

A Western Sydney man will face Downing Centre Local Court today (29 August, 2023) charged for allegedly attempting to import a variety of illicit drugs, including a synthetic opioid.

The drugs, which were allegedly sold on the dark web, were concealed in a variety of items, including cookware, toy cars and a blackjack set.

An investigation began in May 2023 when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in New South Wales intercepted three separate consignments sent via air cargo from the United Kingdom.

The first consignment contained 133 tablets of MDMA, 100 tablets of oxycodone, and 97 tablets of an analogue of nitazene, a synthetic opioid that can be more potent than fentanyl. The second and third consignments contained a total of 60g of MDMA, 25g of ketamine, 15g of meth and 14g of heroin.

ABF alerted the AFP, and on 19 May, 2023, the AFP executed a warrant at the Greenfield Park address where the packages were allegedly supposed to be destined.  The AFP seized a number of items, including kitchen scales and spoons with white residue, zip lock bags, and a fake ID card.

Police allege the intended recipient of the drugs was a Greenfield Park resident, 23.

The AFP will allege he engaged in regular encrypted communications with two other people based in the UK, to import border-controlled drugs and traffic them in Australia.

The man first faced court on 20 May, 2023, charged with one count of attempting to import a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.6 of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years.

AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis said while each of the packages contained relatively small amounts of illicit drugs, combined they equated to dozens of individual street deals that would cause significant harm to the Australian community.

“People who use illicit drugs can never be certain what they are ingesting and opioids, even in small doses, can be fatal,” Det-Supt Bellis said.

“That is why the AFP works closely with ABF and other partners to disrupt the illicit drug supply chain and protect the community.”

ABF Superintendent Asha Patwardhan said no suspicious parcel is immune from officer intuition, targeting and examination at our ports of entry.

“Officer training and intuition are key pillars in being able to detect illicit substances at our border, no matter how sophisticated the concealment method may be,” Supt Patwardhan said.

“Thanks to collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we have managed to remove a cocktail of drugs off our streets and prevent this criminal syndicate from further operating in our backyard.”

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to

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