Authorities have prevented an influx of dangerous drugs into Queensland ahead of this year’s Schoolies Week with the recent interception of almost eight kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in parcels all destined for the sunshine State.
Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers said 7.7 kilograms of drugs had been intercepted in four separate consignments sent from China, Hong Kong and the USA over a period between late October and early November.
The drugs were concealed in a number of seemingly inconspicuous objects, including computer microphones, stereo speakers, plastic bottles and a porcelain horse ornament.
The largest consignment was 3.9 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in 34 plastic bottles and destined for a Gaven address in Queensland. A 37-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested in Queensland in relation to the import. He was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border control drug contrary to section 307.1 section of Criminal Code Act (1995). This charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
ABF Queensland Regional Commander, Terry Price warned that the community needed to be vigilant over Schoolies Week and the summer holiday period when criminal groups attempt to take advantage of end of year celebrations.
“We want to also warn criminal gangs and their local accomplices that our diligent ABF officers are on constant alert to attempted illegal drug imports through all Australian Border entry points and they can face lengthy jail terms,” Commander Price said.
“The collective law enforcement agencies are committed to preventing these harmful substances reaching the Australian community. Our ABF officers and systems are primed to detect suspicious parcels and disrupt drug importation before those drugs hit the streets” he said.
Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Queensland Police Service’s Drug and Serious Crime Group said QPS is working closely with partner agencies.
“The QPS is actively monitoring the internet and traditional supply networks to minimise the opportunity for dangerous drugs reaching our streets, however this outcome cannot be achieved in isolation,” Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker said.
Australian Crime Commission acting Executive Director Operations, Richard Grant, said more than 60 per cent of Australia’s highest risk criminal targets, including transnational targets, are involved in the importation of methylamphetamine.
“These targets are driven by power and profit, they don’t care about the harm illicit drugs reap on individuals and the community.
“The Australian Crime Commission is constantly monitoring the illicit drug market and sharing intelligence with partner law enforcement agencies in a bid to stop these drugs hitting the streets,” Mr Grant said.
AFP State Manager Queensland, Commander Sharon McTavish said that events like Schoolies provide a target market for the importers and distributors of drugs.
“The important message is that law enforcement agencies are working together across countries, across states, and across cities to keep dangerous substances off our streets. If you are importing or distributing drugs assume law enforcement agencies are watching and don’t presume we aren’t. Expect that sooner or later we will knock on your door,” Commander McTavish said.
Anyone with information regarding the importation or distribution of drugs is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.