Joint ABF/AFP Media Release: A 49-year-old Italian national is scheduled to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court today (Friday, 18 October 2019) after he was charged with importing approximately 300 grams of heroin wrapped in 66 pellets concealed inside his body.
The man flew to Perth from Chiang Mai, Thailand, via Kuala Lumpur, on 6 September 2019.
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers selected him for a full baggage examination, and when trace technology returned positive readings for narcotics from his suitcase, he was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for an internal examination.
The man was taken to hospital where it will be alleged 63 pellets were recovered from his stomach, plus another three pellets that had been internally inserted.
The total weight of the drugs was 300.4 grams, with the presumptive analysis returning positive for heroin.
The estimated street value of 300 grams of heroin is $135,000.
The man was charged with one count of importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment.
ABF Regional Commander for WA, Rod O’Donnell, said the detection demonstrated the vigilance of ABF officers at Australia’s borders.
“This is another example of the intuition and skills of our officers stopping illicit substances from reaching Australian communities and causing harm,” Commander O’Donnell said.
“Those that seek to import drugs, be it via an internal courier or any other method, remain firmly in our sights.
“The ABF is fully aware of the lengths that people are willing to go to bring harmful illicit drugs into Australia. They not only risk lengthy jail time but are playing Russian roulette with their own lives and health.”
AFP Detective Superintendent Timothy Underhill says in addition to risking their own lives, people internally importing drugs are impacting the lives of those affected by illicit drugs in our communities.
“The demand for illicit drugs in Australia remains high. It is a societal issue and in addition to tackling the supply of illicit drugs, the AFP is committed to working with the health and education sectors who are focused on demand reduction.”
“Smuggling drugs internally is an incredibly stupid endeavour – there is a constant risk that stomach acid will eat through the wrapping of the drugs a person is concealing, risking a fatal drug overdose.”
“The AFP is committed to working with Australian Border Force and partner agencies to detect and prosecute these offenders importing illicit drugs into Australia, ensuring they are caught and face significant jail time,” D/Supt. Timothy Underhill said.
Anyone with information about the importation of illicit drugs and precursors should contact BorderWatch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.