Catch of the day – man arrested after 59 kilogram cocaine seizure

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

A 48-year-old Sydney man has been charged for his alleged role in the importation of 59 kilograms of cocaine concealed in two shipping containers. The cocaine has a potential street value of approximately $20.6 million.

Between September 2017 and March 2018, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleges the man imported three containers with consignments of frozen fish from Peru into Australia.

The AFP will allege in court the first container, arriving into Sydney in September 2017, was a ‘dry run’.

On 24 March 2018, Australian Border Force (ABF) targeted and examined two further consignments from Peru arriving into Sydney containing frozen fish. An x-ray examination revealed anomalies within the refrigeration unit of both containers.

ABF officers carried out further inspection, including removing wall panels from the container. Officers discovered dozens of taped packages in the cavities of both containers, with a total weight of approximately 29 kilograms of cocaine in one container, and approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine in the other. The consignments were referred to the AFP for further investigation.

The AFP removed the drugs and the containers were delivered to an address in Kingsgrove. Over the following weeks while under AFP investigation, the containers and the fish contents were moved to various storage facilities around Sydney.

As a result of extensive investigations, the AFP alleges a 48-year-old Woolloomooloo man was connected to the importation. Last night (23 May 2018) the man was arrested by the AFP on arrival at Sydney International Airport, after he was subjected to ABF intervention and a baggage examination.

He was charged with importing  a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP acting Manager Organised Crime, a/Commander Krissy Barrett, said the investigation demonstrates the tenacity of AFP investigators and the benefits of close cooperation at the borders.

“The AFP investigators on this case worked tirelessly. They pursued the investigation and were able to stop 59 kilograms of cocaine at the border thanks to our partnership with ABF, and gather enough evidence to make this arrest,” a/Commander Barrett said.

ABF Acting Commander Enforcement Command Matt Stock said this was another great example of Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, working together to protect he community.

“Since the inception of the Home Affairs Portfolio, the ABF and the AFP have been working together better than ever before to stop these threats to the Australian border,” he said.

“Criminals who attempt to import these types of substances should know, no matter where you hide it or how complex the concealment, the ABF and our partner agencies will find it and bring you to justice.”

The man is next scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court on 30 May 2018. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

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