Four arrested for smuggling heroin into Melbourne
Three Canadian nationals and one Dutch citizen are scheduled to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and the Melbourne Children’s Court charged with importing up to 17 kilograms of heroin into Australia.
The two men and two women, carrying two bags each, were selected by Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers for a baggage examination after arriving into Melbourne Airport on a flight from China yesterday (18 November).
During the examination ACBPS officers noticed the eight bags felt unusually heavy when emptied. An x-ray of the luggage revealed a white power built into the bottom of each bag.
Initial testing of the powder was positive for heroin. Further testing of the substance will be conducted to confirm exact weights and purities.
The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who later charged a 21-year-old man from the Netherlands, a 20-year-old Canadian man and two Canadian females – aged 19 and 17 – with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
ACBPS Acting National Manager Airport Operations South, Dean Hogarth, said the seizure was a significant one for Melbourne Airport.
“This was a sophisticated operation, involving multiple people and numerous bags,” Mr Hogarth said.
“Despite its sophistication, Customs and Border Protection officers have again stopped a significant amount of heroin reaching our communities.”
AFP Manager Crime Operations, Jennifer Hurst, said this seizure is another example of the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and border protection agencies.
“The AFP will continue to work alongside our domestic and international partner agencies to detect and disrupt illicit drug importations, and our investigations into the circumstances of this venture remain ongoing,” said Commander Hurst.
The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.