Northern Territory man charged with allegedly attempting to import hallucinogens from Mexico

Tray of DMT

This is a joint release between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Northern Territory Police

Vision from this operation available via Hightail

A 34-year-old Northern Territory man has been charged with allegedly importing four kilograms of an illegal hallucinogenic drug from Mexico, after a joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Northern Territory Police.

The illicit drugs were allegedly concealed inside four packets labelled as "natural dye" sent in the mail from Mexico and intercepted by ABF officers earlier this month.

Tests on the substance returned a presumptive result for N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a border controlled hallucinogenic tryptamine drug. The drugs were removed from the package before it was delivered to a Darwin address.

Police officers from the NT Joint Organised Crime Task Force (NT JOCTF) comprising AFP, NT Police, ABF, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Department of Home Affairs, monitored the delivery of the package to a parcel locker located at a Darwin CBD supermarket on Wednesday (15 September 2021).

About 2pm that day, the alleged offender collected the package from the locker before driving to his Larrakeyah residence on a scooter.

When he returned to his residence, the man was allegedly carrying the package and police arrested him. A search of the man's mobile phone showed he had allegedly been tracking the package through to delivery at the locker.

Officers then executed a search warrant on the property and allegedly found evidence in his bedroom of DMT processing, manufacture and supply. They seized various clandestine laboratory equipment, chemicals and a suspected commercial quantity of partially processed DMT in liquid form, as well as suspected processed DMT in crystalline form.

Two computers were also seized for further examination.

The man was charged with:

  • Import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely DMT, pursuant to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (CTH)
  • Possess commercial quantity of schedule 2 dangerous drugs, namely DMT, pursuant to section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1990 (NT)
  • Supply commercial quantity of schedule 2 dangerous drug, namely DMT, pursuant to section 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1990 (NT)

The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

The man faced Darwin Local Court yesterday (Thursday, 16 September 2021) and was remanded into custody until 30 November 2021 for further mention.

AFP Superintendent Matthew Ballard said this was another example of successful collaboration between law enforcement agencies to keep illicit drugs off Australian streets.

"Our hunt for those who attempt to perpetuate harm through the illicit drug trade will never cease," Supt. Ballard said.

"We are constantly scanning all potential avenues for the attempted importation of illicit drugs into Australia and warn anyone trying to bring drugs into the country that we will detect and arrest them."

Detective Superintendent Lee Morgan from the Northern Territory Police Drugs and Organised Crime Section said: "This operation is another excellent example of law enforcement agencies working in partnerships to achieve results". 

"Illicit substances cause significant harm in our community, we will do everything we can to protect our community from people that are involved in the manufacture and distribution of illicit substances," he said.

ABF Acting Commander Operations North Tracie Griffin commented on the commitment of ABF officers to stopping drugs at the border, and highlighted the cooperation between law enforcement partners to protect the Australian community.

"This is another great example of the dedication of our ABF officers working closely with our law enforcement partners to find those responsible for trying to import drugs and protecting the Australian community," Acting Commander Griffin said.

People with information about the illicit importation of drugs should contact Border Watch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia's border. Information can be provided anonymously.

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

Media enquiries:

  • AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
  • ABF Media: (02) 6264 2244
  • NT Police Media: (08) 8985 8838

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