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Portuguese traveller charged over alleged internal cocaine import

06 January 2023, 2:55pm
Media Release

Portuguese traveller charged over alleged internal cocaine import

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

Editor’s note: Images and audio grabs from AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Carly Smith available via Hightail

A Portuguese traveller is expected to appear in Parramatta Local Court today (6 January, 2023) after the AFP charged him with allegedly importing about 1.6kg of cocaine concealed inside his body.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined the man’s baggage after he flew into Sydney on 1 January 2023 from France, via Hong Kong.

Tests of his luggage allegedly returned positive readings for the presence of cocaine and the man was referred to the AFP for further examination.

AFP officers transported the man to St George Hospital for a CT scan, which allegedly identified the presence of pellets in his stomach.

He later excreted 100 pellets, weighing about 16 grams each. Each pellet is suspected to contain cocaine with the estimated total gross weight being 1.6kg.

The AFP will allege the man swallowed the pellets before leaving France.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Carly Smith said it was the second time in a week that a traveller had been charged for allegedly going to such lengths to smuggle illicit drugs into Australia.

“Anyone who smuggles drugs internally not only risks substantial jail time but is also taking grave risks with their health and wellbeing,” she said.

“They risk their own lives and cause harm in the community by providing access to illicit substances.  The AFP is working closely with ABF and other partners to make sure our airports remain a hostile environment for criminal syndicates.”

ABF Superintendent Aviation Traveller NSW, Phillip Anderson, said ABF officers are some of the best in world at detecting internal concealments and that this outcome should serve as a strong deterrent to those looking to bring drugs into Australia.

“No matter how you attempt to conceal illicit substances into our country, ABF officers are highly trained to detect anomalies and will stop you at the border,” Superintendent Anderson said.

“Don’t risk your health by attempting to internally transport drugs into our country, as the ABF along with our partner agencies will ensure you are caught and face prosecution.”

The man has been charged with one count of importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years’ imprisonment.

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