Easter weekend heroin import leads to arrests in Adelaide

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, South Australia Police and Australian Border Force.

An alleged attempt to import heroin in a metal hammock frame at Adelaide International Airport over the weekend has led to two arrests, with two people due to appear in Adelaide Magistrates’ Court today (18 April 2017).

Investigations began after a 35-year-old Cranbourne (Victoria) woman arrived in Adelaide on a flight from Cambodia - via Singapore - on Saturday (15 April 2017).

The woman was selected for a baggage examination by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers, where a metal free-standing hammock frame was found in her luggage.

Further examination revealed a substance concealed within the frame, which returned a positive result for heroin.

Forensic deconstruction of the hammock frame will soon reveal the exact quantity of the drugs, however it is estimated that approximately five kilograms of illicit drugs was concealed in the metal frame.

The woman was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and further investigation was commenced.

As a result, a 42-year-old man from Cranbourne (Victoria) – the woman’s husband – was arrested at Adelaide International Airport later on Saturday for his alleged role in the importation.

He will face charges of aiding and abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and by virtue of section 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The woman was charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

Four search warrants were also executed, including one warrant in the Melbourne suburb of Cranbourne, and a further three warrants with the assistance of the South Australia Police Serious and Organised Crime Branch in the Adelaide suburbs of Athol Park, Gepps Cross and Elizabeth Park.

Police enquiries remain ongoing and further arrests have not been ruled out in connection with this importation.

This investigation comes after a weekend of attempted drug imports at Australian airports, leading to arrests of an Australian man at Melbourne International Airport on Good Friday, and a German couple at Sydney International Airport on Saturday.

AFP Superintendent Andrew Smith, acting Manager of Crime Operations, said the string of arrests highlights the vigilance of law enforcement at all times.

“Criminals may think our guard is down on public holidays like Easter, but the men and women of the AFP are continually policing for a safer Australia,” Superintendent Smith said.

ABF Regional Commander Central, Rachel Houghton, said this is a significant detection and this amount of heroin could cause untold harm to South Australian families.

“While the majority of Australians enjoyed time with family and friends over the Easter period, ABF officers continued to protect the community from those looking to profit off the misery of others,” Regional Commander Houghton said.

South Australia Police Detective Superintendent, Craig Patterson, Serious and Organised Crime Branch said this seizure is a result of continuing work by South Australia Police members with their partner agencies.

“The arrests and seizure are a direct reflection of law enforcement’s collaboration, through joint operations and intelligence sharing, resulting in a significant seizure of an illicit substance which is a great risk to our community,” Detective Superintendent Patterson said.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333
SA Police Media: (08) 7322 3848
ABF Media: (02) 6264 2244