Joint ABF/AFP Media release: A 32-year-old man accused of importing 300 grams of methamphetamine concealed inside a children’s book was expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (21 May 2020).
The man was arrested yesterday (20 May) after Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers executed a search warrant at his South Yunderup home.
An investigation was launched after ABF officers intercepted a parcel from Canada at a Perth air cargo depot on Sunday (17 May).
Anomalies detected in an x-ray prompted a closer examination and deconstruction of the children’s book inside.
When the book covers were peeled back, officers discovered the inner lining coated with powdered chillies.
It will be alleged that officers drilled into the book and located a crystalline substance, which subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine.
The matter was referred to the AFP and culminated in a search warrant at the South Yunderup property.
Police will allege that when they arrived at the home, the package – which was delivered without the illicit drugs – had been opened and the contents were being separated.
The estimated street value of the drugs is $225,000 and the amount seized equates to an estimated 3000 street deals.
Police also allegedly found about $7000 cash and a small amount of cannabis at the man’s home.
The man has been charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The offence carries a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment.
He has also been charged with dealing in proceeds of crime (money) worth $1000 or more, contrary to section 400.7(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). He faces a maximum five years imprisonment if convicted of that offence.
ABF Regional Commander for WA, James Copeman, said ABF officers are constantly on alert for illicit drugs coming through the international cargo and mail streams.
“Criminals using chilli powder or any other substances to mask illicit drugs is not new for the ABF”, Commander Copeman said.
“Regardless if it’s meth built into a children’s educational book or other methods of concealment, our officers use cutting edge detection equipment to prevent these illicit goods from making their way into the Australian Community.
“This outcome again demonstrates the highly effective collaborative manner in which the ABF and AFP work together to protect the community from harmful substances like meth.”
AFP Western Commander John Tanti said the AFP works closely with State and Commonwealth partners to protect Australian communities by disrupting the supply of illicit drugs and preventing criminals from profiting from their harmful acts.
“The latest National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report, released by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) in March, indicates West Australians are consuming about 1,482.7kg of meth annually,” Commander Tanti said.
“Too many people are wasting money on illicit drugs – delivering profits to criminals who prey on our communities and who do not care about the health and social harms they cause, or the drug-related crime.”
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.