15 November 2023, 10:54am
Sydney couple charged with drug importation offences
Note to editors: Images of the seizure and arrest vision is available via Hightail
A Sydney couple has been charged for an attempt to import 50kg of methamphetamine concealed within five blue shipping pallets.
The man, 34, and woman, 30, are expected to appear before Downing Centre Local Court today (15 November 2023) after being arrested and remanded into custody on 18 September 2023.
AFP investigators seized the concealment on 1 August, 2023, after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers conducted a routine examination of a shipping container and discovered 50kg of meth impregnated within the pallets.
After removing the drugs, the AFP followed the consignment to a commercial property in south-west Sydney.
It will be alleged the couple diverted the consignment on a number of occasions in an attempt to obfuscate law enforcement.
Police will also allege the couple followed the delivery during the period of multiple diversions, before finally taking possession of it at a storage unit in Waterloo.
The AFP executed two search warrants at the home address of the couple in Surry Hills and the storage unit in Waterloo.
AFP investigators seized a dedicated encrypted communications device and other mobile phones, pallets removed from the consignment and a number of substances suspected to be border controlled drugs.
The couple were subsequently charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, by virtue of section 11.1(1), contrary to subsection 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jeremy Staunton said it will be alleged the couple went to great effort to distance themselves from the shipment and never realised they were in the AFPs crosshairs.
“The AFP cannot put it more simply than to say those who intend to import harmful substances into the country – you are firmly in our sights,” Det. a/Supt Staunton said.
“Methamphetamine and other drugs have a devastating impact on individuals and our communities, which is why we are committed to prosecuting those responsible for importing it into Australia.”
A/g ABF Superintendent Marc Rea said the ABF remains one step ahead of criminal groups to detect any creative or complex concealment of illicit substances.
“Criminals may think due to the size of shipping containers and cargo ships their drug concealment won’t be detected, but this isn’t the case,” A/g Superintendent Rea said.
“The technology at our disposal is increasingly sophisticated and constantly evolving, and we will continue to foil attempts such as this so that we can keep Australians safe by maintaining the integrity of our border.”
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
- information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support