Biosecurity Officer sentenced after importing exotic fish

A former Biosecurity Officer from the Department of Agriculture was sentenced yesterday for abusing his position to facilitate the importation of illegal fauna.

A 32-year-old man was  sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for importing prohibited marine fauna, possessing illegal imported specimens and abuse of public office.

Between 11 October 2016 and 28 February 2018, the man used information obtained through the course of his employment to facilitate the illegal importation of regulated specimens. As part of the man’s employment he was responsible for inspecting cargo and specimens being imported into Australia.

Police alleged in court that the man took possession of and sold the illegally imported specimens for a financial gain. The live specimens included a peacock bass, an iridescent shark, a leo ray and a fire eel.

The man was referred to the AFP for investigation by the Department of Agriculture. Illegally importing live specimens pose a threat to the Australian environment and national biodiversity.

On 12 November 2018, the AFP executed search warrants at a residence in Wentworth Point, NSW, where an arowana fish was seized from a fish tank.

The man was arrested and subsequently charged with the following offences:

  • Possess illegally imported specimens, contrary to section 303GN(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Illegally import goods, contrary to section 186(5) of the Biosecurity Act 2015
  • Abuse of public office, contrary to section 142.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) 2 counts
  • Dealing in the proceeds of Crime, contrary to Section 400.6 of the Criminal Code (Cth)

He was subsequently convicted on the following offences with 2 other charges being taken into consideration:

  • Possess illegally imported specimens, contrary to section 303GN(2) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Abuse of public office, contrary to section 142.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) 1 count
  • Dealing in the proceeds of Crime, contrary to Section 400.6 of the Criminal Code (Cth)

The man appeared at the Downing Centre District Court on 17 December 2019, where he was sentenced to a maximum of three years’ imprisonment. He will be eligible for parole after 18 months.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

Subscribe and receive email alerts when new media releases are published.

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2018-19

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.