Darwin man charged for allegedly importing 30kgs of an illicit substance

hand holding handcuffs

Editor's Note: Images of the drugs and seized items from the search warrant available via hightail. 

A 43-year-old Darwin man has faced Darwin Local Court today (1 October 2021) after he was charged by the Northern Territory Joint Organised Crime Task Force (NT JOCTF) for allegedly importing 30 kilograms of the illicit substance Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA).

The Darwin man was arrested at his home yesterday (30 September) following a joint investigation launched last month, after Australian Border Force officers detected an alleged substance, which is structurally similar to gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), in a parcel from China.

Investigators from the NT JOCTF removed the substance from the parcel then notified the intended recipient that it was ready for collection.

Police will allege the 43-year-old man attempted to take possession of the package from the freight collection depot on Wednesday (29 September 2021).

Early yesterday morning (30 September 2021), officers executed a search warrant at the man’s residence, which is alleged to be the delivery address marked on the parcel.

The man was arrested at his home and charged with:

  • importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment; and
  • possessing cannabis and a smoking implement, contrary to sections 7B(1) and 12(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (NT).

During the search warrant officers seized mobile phones, a laptop and cannabis. The electronic devices will be subject to forensic examination and further charges have not been ruled out.

The man appeared before Darwin Local Court on 1 October 2021 where he was remanded in custody to re-appear on today (Wednesday, 6 October 2021). 

AFP Superintendent Matthew Ballard said the use of these illicit substances are extremely dangerous and can lead to a loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory difficulties, and even death.

“The AFP continues to work closely with its partners to prevent these drugs from getting onto our streets and potentially being used in the carriage of other serious offences, such as assaults.”

Detective Superintendent Lee Morgan from the Northern Territory Police Drugs and Organised Crime Section said “this seizure and arrest is another great example of the results that are being continually achieved through law enforcement agencies working collaboratively.”

ABF Superintendent Reuben Gray said that the charges demonstrated the benefits of the close collaboration between law enforcement agencies.

“The ABF, as Australia’s customs service, continues to work closely with our partners to counter the scourge of illegal drugs and protect the Australian community. Our officers are committed to detecting and deterring attempts to illegally import illicit substances,” Superintendent Gray said.

The NT JOCTF comprises of members from the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Northern Territory Police, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Department of Home Affairs.

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