AFP seizes $172,000 from traveller

Editor’s Note: Video and images from the arrest and seizure are available via Hightail

A woman who was caught at Perth Airport with about $172,000 cash allegedly concealed under her clothing has been charged by the AFP with dealing with the suspected proceeds of crime.

The West Australian woman, 45, was stopped at the domestic airport on Friday morning (9 December 2022) after security screening allegedly identified anomalies. 

Airport security staff alerted the AFP and officers questioned and searched the woman, before seizing the currency which was in various denominations.

Police will allege the woman was planning to travel to Sydney with the hidden cash and is yet to show how the money was legally obtained.

The AFP charged her with dealing with property reasonably suspected to be proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.9(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).  The maximum penalty for this offence is three years’ imprisonment. 

She faced court on 9 December and is next expected to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court on 13 January (2023).

AFP investigators then executed a search warrant at the woman’s Midland home where they allegedly found about $50,000 cash, quantities of methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis and three home-made Taser devices. Inquiries are continuing into the items found. 

AFP Detective Sergeant Tom Blakeley said the AFP worked closely with security services at the nine designated airports around Australia to target travellers on both domestic and international flights and make sure they were not using transit routes for criminal activities.

“Unexplained sources of cash are often a sign of underlying criminal activity and the AFP will put people before court to justify that wealth,” he said.

“This arrests shows that as travel returns to pre-COVID levels, the AFP and our law enforcement partners across Australia and around the world are ensuring airports remain a hostile environment for criminal syndicates.”

The AFP encourages the public to call Airport Watch on 131 237 if they see or hear something unusual while working or travelling through one of the nation’s major airports.

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