Cruise passenger attempts to import liquid cocaine in lava lamp


A 22-year-old UK woman is scheduled to appear in Central Local Court today (Thursday, 27 February) charged with importing approximately 1.5 litres of liquid cocaine into the White Bay Cruise Terminal, Sydney.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers selected the woman for a baggage examination yesterday (26 February) when she arrived on a cruise ship from New Caledonia.

During the examination, ACBPS officers located a lava lamp with approximately 1.5 litres of liquid. The officers took samples of the liquid with initial tests returning positive results for cocaine. An ACBPS detector dog also responded positively to the cocaine concealment.

ACBPS officers referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who later charged the woman with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, pursuant to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code 1995.

ACBPS Deputy National Director Compliance and Enforcement Demetrio Veteri congratulated the ACBPS officers involved in the seizure.

“Customs and Border Protection uses a range of technologies and shared intelligence to detect and disrupt the illicit drug trade”, Mr Veteri said.

“No matter the concealment method or entry point, our officers are alert to those who attempt to breach our border. This seizure has once again stopped dangerous drugs reaching the Australian community.”

AFP Manager Crime Operations Jennifer Hurst said this detection is another example of the cooperative work being carried out at the border by ACBPS and the AFP.

“This detection sends a clear message that law enforcement agencies are committed to working together to stop drugs from entering Australia, despite the concealment methods used to evade detection,” Commander Hurst said.

Further forensic testing will be conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.

The maximum penalty for the offence is imprisonment for 25 years and or a fine of up to $850,000.