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23 February 2024, 7:37am
Media Release

WA couple charged over alleged internal heroin import

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

Editor’s note: Images and audio grabs from AFP Acting Commander Peter Hatch available via Hightail

A man and woman from Western Australia are expected to appear in Perth Magistrates Court today (23 February, 2024) after the AFP charged them with allegedly importing about 255g of heroin concealed internally.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined their baggage after they arrived at Perth Airport on 14 February, 2024 on an international flight from Asia.

Examination of their mobile devices allegedly revealed images of what was believed to be illegal drugs and the man and woman, both 48, were referred to the AFP for further examination.

Scans identified the potential presence of internally concealed drugs and AFP officers transported the pair to hospital for further tests. The tests allegedly confirmed the presence of pellets in both of their bodies.

The man later excreted six pellets allegedly containing heroin, with an estimated total weight of 115.4g.

The woman later excreted seven pellets allegedly containing heroin, with an estimated total weight of 139.7g.

The combined weight of the seized drugs is 255.1g, which could have been sold as 1275 street deals, with an estimated total value of $127,500.

The AFP will allege the pair inserted the pellets in their bodies before traveling to Australia.

AFP Acting Commander Peter Hatch said anyone smuggling drugs internally was not only risking substantial jail time but also taking grave risks with their health.

“We know these pellets can burst in the stomach, or in other parts of the body, causing significant risk of a devastating overdose. Couriers are risking their own lives and face lengthy jail time if they are caught. It is just not worth it,” Acting Commander Hatch said.

“This matter should serve as a salient warning to the community: this is your drug supply chain in action. Illicit drugs are not produced in sterile environments, and they’re certainly not transported in hygienic conditions.

“Should you ever consider using illegal substances, just think about where they potentially come from. In this situation the drugs sat in the colon of an alleged internal courier before they would have been sold and used.

“I also want to thank our officers who had the unenviable task of monitoring the pair as the pellets were excreted and had to collect those packages.

“The AFP will continue to work closely with ABF and other partners to make sure our airports remain a hostile environment for criminal syndicates.”

ABF Acting Commander Vesna Gavranich said officers at the international airport were the first line of defence in detecting illicit drugs at the border.

“ABF officers are highly trained in detecting internal concealments and will stop passengers in their tracks to ensure these harmful drugs do not make their way into the community,” Acting Commander Gavranich said.

“It is both dangerous and extremely stupid to think this is some kind of failsafe method to conceal illicit drugs.”

The man and woman have each been charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

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

Media enquiries

  • AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
  • ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211
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