Suspected drug mule charged over alleged airport meth import

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A United States national, 66, appeared in Downing Centre Local Court yesterday (7 January, 2023) after the AFP charged him for allegedly importing methamphetamines concealed in the lining of a suitcase.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly found the illicit substances on Friday (6 January, 2023) when they searched the man’s luggage after he flew in to Sydney.

The man’s trip originated in South Africa, where he was allegedly provided the suitcase.

ABF officers found a white crystalline substance in the lining of the bag, with tests returning positive readings for the presence of methamphetamines.

Further examinations will be done to determine the exact weight of the drugs but it is suspected about two kilograms of methamphetamines was hidden in the bag.

The man was referred to the AFP for investigation and was later charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment.

It is the third time in a week that a foreign traveller has been charged for allegedly importing illicit drugs through Australian airports.

The man was refused bail and is scheduled to next appear in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday (10 January, 2023).

AFP Detective Acting Inspector James McMillan said he hoped the arrests would send a strong warning to people that attempting to smuggle drugs into Australia was not worth the risk.

“If convicted, these people are facing significant potential jail terms far from their home countries,” Det-A/Inspector McMillan said.

“The AFP and ABF are working hard to protect the Australian community from the scourge of drugs and ensure airports are not part of the illicit supply chain.”

ABF Superintendent Aviation Traveller, Phillip Anderson, is proud of the dedicated officers at Sydney Airport who achieved this result and their continuous work in stopping dangerous drugs from entering the community.

“Airport Operations Sydney are always vigilant of attempts to smuggle illicit substances into Australia – their world-class training ensures anyone who tries is stopped at the border,” Superintendent Anderson said.

“The ABF is committed to protecting the community from harmful drugs and we work closely with our law enforcement partners to prevent these substances getting into the community.”

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.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to

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