Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in Sydney have seized 96 kilograms of MDMA concealed in bottles of champagne, along with numerous other detections of the dangerous drug this summer.
On 29 December 2018, officers at the international mail centre examined a package from Belgium and noticed anomalies on the X-ray image.
Upon further examination, the consignment was found to contain four champagne bottles. A sample of the liquid inside was tested and returned presumptive positive results for MDMA.
Since then, a further 23 identical consignments have been detected, with ABF officers seizing a total of 96 litres of MDMA – all concealed in bottles of champagne.
The majority of these were sent from Belgium, but some originated in the Netherlands, France and Germany.
ABF Regional Commander NSW Danielle Yannopoulos said it was a significant result for public safety.
“We’ve seen how dangerous this drug can be. It can have a profound and tragic impact on individuals, families and the broader community. Our officers will continue to do everything they can to stop it at the Australian border, before it has the chance to cause harm,” Commander Yannopoulos said.
“ABF officers have cutting edge technology and unique skills at their disposal, giving them the ability to see further into each package. This detection shows their methods are working – even on highly sophisticated consignments.”
In the 2017/18 financial year, the ABF made more than 3500 detections of MDMA, seizing almost one and a half tonne of the drug at Australian borders.
Officers at mail centres around the country have also made recent detections of MDMA concealed within shampoo bottles, coffee, chocolates and inside metal poles.
Investigations into the attempted importations are ongoing.
Anyone with information about the importation of illicit drugs or weapons should contact Border Watch at australia.gov.au/borderwatch. You can provide information anonymously.